A popular game show live from Latvia. A wide selection of live dealer online casino offerings from Malta.
After Ontario online casinos launch with an explosion of operators on April 4, Canadian players will soon have many more options than their American counterparts.
Shortly after launch, there will be hordes of live games in Ontario currently not permitted in the United States. South of the border, live games are usually required to be hosted within state lines, so the rollout on offerings has been slow.
Why would Ontario regulators allow games from all over the world, nearly right away?
In part, to drive out less-regulated foreign markets.
Let us explain.
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Full suite of Evolution’s products coming to Ontario
Let’s start with the what before we get to the why.
Evolution, a global leading game supplier based in Sweden, will be one of the busiest entities for Ontario’s internet gaming launch.
The leading supplier of live dealer online casino games, an Evolution executive told PlayCanada this week that the company already has deals in place with more than 20 operators to supply games in Ontario.
In order to be ready, Evolution went through the necessary certifications to comply with Ontario laws and regulations. In fact, the supplier has already entered a commercial agreement with iGamingOntario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
According to Jeff Millar, Evolution’s commercial director for North America, operators approved for the market should have access to their full slate of games. That includes out-of-country infrastructure, although the games will still need to be tested and certified according to Ontario’s regulatory requirements.
As Millar told PlayCanada, there’s potentially more good news for Ontario players; earlier access to Evolution games that typically initially launch in Europe.
“Once Canada’s most-populous market launches, the ability to get access to the newest and best product that Evolution has, is really going to be apparent to Ontario players,” he said.
Popular ‘Crazy Time’ game show among Ontario-bound Evolution offerings
“Crazy Time” is coming to Ontario. And no, this isn’t an editorial comment about the launch or life in our nation’s most populated province.
One of Evolution’s most popular live products is a game show called “Crazy Time,” and it should be in the province in short order.
Streamed from Latvia’s capital city of Riga, “Crazy Time” is a game show with a host standing in front of a wheel, spinning to win with bonus games and multipliers available.
Seems simple enough, but it’s apparently a hit: Millar said sometimes 20,000 or 30,000 players take part in “Crazy Time” at a given point.
“It’s really, really engaging,” Millar said. “We can’t wait to introduce it to the Ontario players when the regulated market opens.”
In addition, think hundreds of variations of regular table games, including lightning roulette and lightning blackjack.
Setting grey markets operators up for a smooth transition
So why would Ontario regulators be more open to games that have outcomes determined outside of their jurisdiction?
That’s to offer a carrot for online casino operators to come to the legal side.
Grey market operators in Ontario have much of their infrastructure set up overseas. And it’s not just the front-facing operators.
“Suppliers also have to abide by the law,” explained Millar.
“We, as suppliers, cannot allow any operator who’s serving the grey market to have access to Evolution content. So, that way, the government is trying to get this grey market out and substitute it for a regulated one.”
Some of the more than 20 operators Evolution has agreements with, Millar said, previously served the grey market. They’ve since decided to exit and re-enter with approval from Ontario.
“Others are US operators who have never entered the Canadian market before,” he said. “These are just brands that are now willing to get a license in Ontario.”
Millar noted Evolution’s operator deals are contingent on the operator following through with their plans to enter the legal market. Evolution had a recent controversy involving allegations the company allowed games to be played in markets where gambling is illegal. Evolution has denied any wrongdoing.
Good luck on the grey market without world’s top gaming suppliers
In Canada, life will be tough for those who continue to serve the grey market, as they won’t have access to Evolution’s games. Or that of other suppliers serving the regulated industry.
And, operators want to do business with Evolution, based on the company’s industry reputation. Evolution’s games are known for offering a top-notch casino experience with high-quality HD.
“They’re not going to have access to any of the suppliers who are on the regulated side of the market,” Millar said of operators who choose to opt-out of the regulated market. “They’re going to just struggle to get content to serve that market.
“That decision … they’re swimming upstream at that point.”
Evolution has the advantage of a head start
While many more games are coming, Evolution is already offering limited live dealer online casino games across much of Canada.
Operating under the legacy regulations, which require that live dealer games originate in Canada, Evolution is supplying government-run operators prior to the larger upcoming launch.
Back in October, Evolution partnered with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to offer its live casino services for the online casino at OLG.ca.
Evolution’s current live dealer offering on the site includes a few variants of live blackjack, live roulette and live baccarat. They also provide a lineup of lottery, e-instant and slot games.
When we talked to Millar, Evolution was close to having 45 table games already certified, so far mostly blackjack.
“We’re just waiting for the market to open, and we’ll be ready to go on day one,” Millar said. He added that easily 80-100 tables would be available as of launch.
Evolution’s Canadian-generated content streams directly from their production studio in Vancouver.
Ontario the fourth province to stream Evolution’s games
OLG is the fourth provincial lottery to partner with Evolution. Previous deals include British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis and Loto-Québec.
Quebecers, for example, already enjoy a full suite of nationally broadcast live dealer games and European options.
“Players in Quebec can play not only the live dealer games offered from our Vancouver studio, but they also have access to our European studio in Riga [Latvia], and in Georgia, as well as Malta,” Millar said.
“Players can access a full suite of games or [sic] that our European players get, and that’s allowed by law in Quebec. So, the hope [is] the same thing holds true for Ontario when the commercial market opens.”
Evolution is also in discussions with Atlantic Lottery Corporation to have their casino offer authorized in the Atlantic provinces.
But that may take a while because all four ALC provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador—have to agree.
However, Millar believes that Evolution could be live on the East Coast later this year.