Ontario Regulator Gives Unlicensed Betting, iGaming Operators October 31 Deadline to Leave

  • Grey market operators may jeopardize their license registration eligibility if they keep operating
  • The AGCO allowed for a transition period so grey market operators could obtain a license
  • Ontario’s regulated online gambling market went live for the first time in April this year
  • The AGCO is tweaking iGaming regulations on October 31 to account for live dealer games
Sandglass and calendar
Grey market online gambling operators in Ontario have until October 31 to stop operating in the province. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Limited time left

Grey market online gambling platforms have until October 31 to cease operations in Ontario. On Tuesday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced the end date for the transition period of all unlicensed operators of online sportsbooks and iGaming.

jeopardizing their license registration eligibility

It is likely that any unregulated platforms still in operation after October will face the wrath of the provincial gambling regulator, including jeopardizing their license registration eligibility. However, the regulator has not indicated what other penalties it might administer.

The AGCO believes that it has provided a reasonable amount of time for grey market operators to join the regulated market. It outlined how “a significant number of iGaming operators and gaming related suppliers” have made the transition to date.

A regulated market

Until the launch of the province’s betting and iGaming market in April, Ontario’s grey operators could offer gambling without having to worry about any blowback from regulators.

allowing the province to benefit from license fees and taxes

Part of the aim of launching regulated online gambling was to take business away from these operations, allowing the province to benefit from license fees and taxes. In August 2021, the AGCO released a guide to help transition grey market operators into the regulated market.

There are now over 20 licensed sportsbooks live in Ontario, as well as numerous online casino and poker sites. Before the regulated market launched, the only iGaming provider able to operate in the province was the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Early stages

On October 31, the AGCO is also tweaking its regulations to better account for live dealer online casino games due to their popularity. The regulator is attempting to address risks posed by the involvement of real humans in the gameplay and the involvement of physical equipment.

The AGCO released its first official financial results from the sector in August. For the first quarter of its regulated market, total revenue reached CA$162m (US$119m), with about 492,000 accounts active during that period. These figures excluded the results from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s online platforms.