No Slots Autoplay for Ontarians in New iGaming Ban

  • Ontario iGaming has published new rules, including an autoplay ban and spin speed limit
  • The regulations ban split-screen or multi-screen slots, in addition to “losses disguised as wins”
  • Games must not appeal to minors and operators can not target those considered high risk
  • The regulator will begin handing out licenses for the soon-to-launch market this summer or fall
Autoplay wording
According to new rules published by the Ontario iGaming regulator, operators must not offer autoplay slots when the market launches later this year. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Setting up the framework

Last week, the government of Ontario in Canada announced the creation of a new body to regulate the province’s online gaming market. That division has now published a series of new rules for operators as they prepare to launch.

the regulator prohibits spin speeds under 2.5 seconds

Among the regulations published by Ontario iGaming is a ban on autoplay slots. The rules state: “A player should commit to each game individually, releasing and then depressing the ‘start button’ or taking equivalent action.”

Additionally, the regulator prohibits spin speeds under 2.5 seconds.

As reported by iGB, the regulations focus on a number of other areas too, such as transparency and anti-money laundering. Ontario iGaming has also stipulated rules for marketing, including a prohibition on misleading advertising which might suggest gambling could lead to financial success.

According to the Ontario iGaming website, the province’s online gaming market will launch in December 2021.

A closer look at the rules

In addition to a ban on autoplay, the gaming regulator has made several other demands in regards to game design. Ontario iGaming has prohibited split-screen or multi-screen slots and games should not mislead players into believing they have won despite receiving funds less than their stake. The regulator described this as “losses disguised as wins.”

A ban on these slot design features is not something unique to the Ontario market. The UK gaming regulator issued a series of new regulations earlier this year. Included among them was a ban on autoplay, a spin speed limit, and a prohibition on features which might portray a loss as a win.

In regards to marketing, games can not feature characters, themes, or language which might appeal to minors. Ontario iGaming has also made clear that advertisements should not attempt to “exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of all potentially high-risk persons.”

Added to this, operators will have to adhere to strict regulations in regard to responsible gambling and anti-money laundering. Among other rules, operators must carry out responsible gambling training and consistently review their policies. They must also perform regular anti-money laundering checks.

Getting ready for launch

Upon its creation earlier this month, iGaming Ontario set out a timeframe for the launch of the province’s online gaming market. The subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will begin handing out licenses in the summer or fall of 2021. It emphasized that it will only accept applicants “that meet the province’s rigorous standards of game and operator integrity, fairness, player protections and social responsibility.”

Doug Downey, attorney general of Ontario, described the launch of iGaming Ontario as “a pivotal milestone” in the market’s creation. He took to Twitter in early July to express his views:

In addition to the imminent launch of iGaming, Ontarians will also soon have access to single-event sports betting. Canada’s lawmakers passed new legislation last month which will allow betting operators to offer wagering on single games rather than being limited to parlays on multiple events.

Commenting this week, theScore Media CEO John Levy said the launch of iGaming and single-event sports wagering could prove particularly profitable for the operator in Ontario. “With a large and passionate Canadian user base, strong brand identity, and experience operating a powerful mobile betting platform in the US, we are extremely well-positioned to succeed in Ontario, and across the country,” he told investors during an earnings call Tuesday.