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IGAMING IN CANADA: WHAT’S NEXT?

Kevin Dennis, Senior Vice President, Canada, The Innovation Group, and Troy Ross, President of TRM Public Affairs, discuss the coming months and years for iGaming in Canada. What lies ahead?

In April 2022, the Canadian gaming landscape changed dramatically with the opening of the Ontario iGaming market to private gaming operators. Aside from Ontario, all other Canadian provinces use their government-owned lottery and gaming corporations as the exclusive legal provider of iGaming. On behalf of Gaming America, Kevin Dennis, Senior Vice President, Canada for The Innovation Group, sat down with his colleague Troy Ross, President of TRM Public Affairs, to get his take on the opening of iGaming in Ontario –and what’s next across Canada.

Kevin Dennis: So, Ontario opened its doors to iGaming in April 2022. Coming out of the recent ICE show in London, what was the talk about Ontario? What are people saying?

Troy Ross: People have been talking about Ontario’s iGaming regime since the Government announced its intent to consult about a regulatory regime back in the summer of 2019. More recently, after the launch of the regulated market in April 2022 and throughout the ICE show, the majority of the iGaming industry has been speaking favorably about the extensive and transparent consultation process the Ontario Government conducted, and the sensible regulatory approach it has taken.

That process led to one of the most commercially attractive regimes in the world. The Ontario approach has resulted in a very successful first year for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario (iGO).

KEVIN DENNIS The Innovation Group Senior Vice President

Closer to home, there seems to be a growing recognition that the regulation of private-sector gaming operators is commonplace in Europe and in the United States. Ontario’s move to regulate private sector iGaming operators is revolutionary in Canada. It is the first of its kind. That is a big deal and the Ontario Government, the AGCO and iGO deserve a great deal of credit for changing the approach and introducing what has become one of the biggest, and most successful, iGaming regimes in North America.

KD: Would you say Ontario has been a success?

TR: Ontario took a practical approach to regulation. It introduced sensible standards, a reasonable tax rate and did not limit the number of registrants that could enter the market. This approach has led to a commercially attractive regime. There is no question, it is a huge success. The iGO Q3 numbers speak for themselves. It reported nearly CA$12bn (US$8.79bn) in wagering, CA$457m in total gaming revenues, with 40 different registered operators, offering more than 70 regulated websites.

I’d estimate that the tax revenues to the Ontario Government, over the past quarter, are about CA$30m a month. Annualized, that’s a significant amount of new tax revenue. And these figures do not include the revenue from the Ontario Lottery site, PlayOLG. I think it’s also a huge success because it is rare that a government policy achieves everything it sets out to do, namely: Drive more money to the treasury; create more choice for players; introduce strong responsible gaming standards; and channel the vast majority of iGaming play away from the grey market into a proper regulated environment. All of these operators coming into a compliance regime, including all of the big brands, means an impressive channelization rate in the province, likely in the neighbourhood of 80% – 90%.

That level of channelization means nearly 100% of Ontario players will enjoy the benefits of a well-regulated space, including world-class responsible gaming

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