Ontario Continues Commitment To Responsible Gambling, Gives $9 Million To RGC

Written By Matthew Lomon on April 4, 2024
Ontario flag on a wall next to a bag of money and a shield with the letters

Furthering its commitment to responsible gambling resources and education, Ontario recently took matters to historic levels. During last week’s Discovery Conference hosted by the Responsible Gaming Council, the Ontario government pledged $9 million to the Responsible Internet Gambling fund.

The RGC will use the nine-figure endowment to support various projects it will take on over the next three years.

In particular, the council says this increased funding will allow for the further development of its consumer education campaigns, expansion of community outreach programming, and strengthening of partnerships with local community groups.

These benefits are all key stepping stones in the RGC’s mission to deliver its message to more Ontarians.

RGC CEO: Ontario is the Canadian leader in promoting responsible play

Shelley White, CEO Responsible Gaming Council
Shelley White, CEO Responsible Gaming Council

Naturally, with Ontario currently standing as Canada’s only open iGaming jurisdiction, there is an expectation that it be at the forefront of methodology for responsible gambling in Ontario.

According to RGC CEO Shelley White, Ontario has more than held up its end of the bargain. The non-profit’s leader was effusive in her praise for Ontario’s steady commitment to the development and promotion of responsible gambling.

“Ontario has long been a champion for responsible gambling and this investment into prevention education and programming and today’s announcement is a game-changer,” said White. “This clearly demonstrates Ontario is the Canadian leader in promoting responsible play, minimizing harm and creating a strong, sustainable online gambling market.”

The province’s latest investment in the RIGF will assist in the formation of a holistic consumer education and prevention strategy. The initiative will also better support those at risk of experiencing gambling-related harms through greater access to information and resources.

“We applaud and thank the Ontario government for this welcome and historic investment into responsible play,” said White. “We know online gambling comes with unique risks and this funding will have a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of so many Ontarians by providing them with the resources and programming to help keep them safe and build a culture of responsible play in this new environment.”

Ontario’s commitment to RG stacks up well to US counterparts

A 2023 analysis by PlayCanada found that when compared to US counterparts, Ontario performs admirably in the responsible gambling department.

In the United States, the National Council on Problem Gambling recommends 1% of revenue be devoted to problem gambling initiatives. While none of the gambling authorities in Ontario provide a specific number, PlayCanada was able to come up with an estimate.

In fiscal year 2021-22, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation reported donating $5 million and $10 million to problem gambling initiatives, respectively. Together, that’s a total of $15 million towards RG programs.

Through FY 2021-22, OLG was the province’s chief gaming operator. In that time, the provincial lottery operator reported a net profit to the province of $1.6 billion. That means Ontario spent a little more than 0.009% of its gambling profits on RG initiatives in 2021-22.

Obviously, the iGaming landscape in Ontario has evolved tremendously since then. However, the estimate still offers insight into Ontario’s financial commitment to responsible gambling practices.

The OLG, for example, says it spends over $10 million annually on a variety of RG projects including program delivery, compliance efforts, research, and training. This figure was present in the company’s responsible gambling strategy for fiscal 2023-25.

More recently, the RGC released its annual report for 2022-23. In it, the non-profit says it receives funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health to further develop its initiatives. Unfortunately, the dollar amount remains unknown.

Despite the lack of concrete numbers, Ontario’s commitment to RG programs remains strong.

Photo by PlayCanada
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Matthew Lomon

Matthew Lomon has been a contributor at Catena Media’s network of regional sites since July 2022. He first broke into covering the legal North American gambling industry with PlayCanada. Since then, Matthew's reporting has extended to PlayMichigan, PlayPennsylvania, and PlayIllinois. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Matthew is an avid (bordering on fanatic) sports fan.

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