Canadian Gaming Business Fall 2023

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What next for Quebec? Will Quebec follow Ontario’s journey to regulation?

We’re all in this together OLG talks about its DEI initiatives and sustainability goals

It’s goodbye USA, but Australia’s PointsBet is at home in Ontario
Vol. 16No. 2Fall 2023 Putting down new roots
Not everything is black & white Lottery executives chat all things responsible gaming

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Welcome to Issue 16 Volume 2 of Canadian Gaming Business!

It has been a busy period for the industry and us at SBC as we hosted our first event on Ontarian soil with the Canadian Gaming Summit 2023. Toronto is a wonderful city that gave a typical Canadian welcome.

There were many topics that had delegates gossiping into the night as the industry concluded a year of monumental growth and evolution.

iGaming Ontario’s latest report shows remarkable progress in the 15 months of data that is available, with over $545m in revenue in Q1. And there’s plenty of discussion about which provinces will follow suit.

In this issue, PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel chats about the company’s future and how the Aussie firm has made Toronto home.

We speak with a coalition of operators who are piling pressure on the provincial government of Québec to form a regulated online gaming market.

Catherine Meade of OLG tells us all about the corporation’s approach to sustainability and DEI, whilst we hear about the Charitable gaming model in Alberta.

There is a whole host of other pieces speaking with experts and engaging participants from a range of industry stakeholders, from integrity experts to First Nations.


As I write this note from a rainy England, I think about the future of the Canadian industry after a transformative and successful few years. Ontario has set the foundations for future rollouts and whether it is Alberta, British Columbia or Québec that is next, it is clear that there is a pathway.

So grab a nice, warm drink and enjoy the magazine. Remember to visit for all of the latest news regarding the national industry. 3
Charlie Homer

The Canadian Gaming Business Magazine is brought to you by SBC - Sports Betting Community:

Managing Editor

Editorial Team

Charlie Horner, Martyn Elliott, Andrew McCarron, Jessica Welman, Conor Porter, Nick Ware, Viktor Kayed, Erin Gallagher, Craig Davies, Ted Menmuir, Joe Streeter, Chris Murphy, James Ross, Lucia Mouriño, Jessie Sale, Fernando Noodt Molins, Callum Williams, Lucia Gando, Ted OrmeClaye, Danny Lee.

Sales Team

Rasmus Sojmark, Alyona Gromova, Conall McCabe, Jan Kowalczyk, Richard Deacon, Bob McFarland, Craig Brown, Juan Ospina

Creative Lead | Design & Layout

Pointing towards success

PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel tells all about the brand’s future plans after the US Fanatics deal and how the region is home to an entire tech team.

We’re all in this together

Catherine Meade, VP of Community, Sustainability & Social Responsibility at OLG, explains the Corporation’s ESG efforts and why when OLG wins, everyone wins.

Global threat? Pan-Canadian solution

The rise of sports betting has increased Canada’s exposure to manipulation and match-fixing. The CCES explains why a nationwide program is required to tackle this.

Jeu en ligne au Québec?

Whilst Ontario is currently the talk of the town, the Québec Online Gaming Coalition is putting on the pressure to create a similar market in the FrenchCanadian province.

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For daily news relating to the Canadian sports betting, casino and lottery business, please visit

Bigger, better, and more impactful

The SBC content marketing team reflects on the Canadian Gaming Summit 2023 which saw a whole host of new additions to the event.

Not everything is black & white

Lottery executives from across Canada offer their thoughts on responsible gambling techniques and discuss the nuances of keeping players safe.

Unique, and for the greater good

AGLC’s EVP of Public Engagement Dave Berry explains how the body’s charitable gaming model stands out from the crowd.

Indigenous voices

Chief Ted Williams of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation talks about the organization’s relationship with the industry and its experiences with Casino Rama. 5 24

Hot off the heels of our most successful Canadian Gaming Summit to date, held in mid-June, which was the first one under the ownership and direction of SBC, the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has been working full steam on several important advocacy and regulatory issues.

First is the upcoming Parliamentary Review on Strengthening Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime. The Government of Canada has launched this public consultation to examine ways to improve Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and AntiTerrorist Financing Regime.

Advocating for fairer regulation

6   Fall 2023 CGA COLUMN

The CGA through its AML Committee submitted comments and feedback in response to specific questions and issues identified in the Department of Finance’s consultation paper. We are advocating for an update of the PCMLFT Act as the current definition of “casino” creates gaps and compliance challenges in the AML regime for Canada’s gaming industry. The Act does not speak to sports betting, excludes horse racing, and does not adequately address available emerging technologies.

Next, the CGA provided detailed feedback to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on its controversial proposed changes to the iGaming advertising standards. The CGA’s members, representing some of the industry’s most prominent iGaming operators, made the point in no uncertain terms that all stakeholders recognize the important underlying public policy issue of mitigating risks associated with how youth interpret gaming advertising. At the same time, however, they were concerned that the proposed changes did not appear to be grounded in solid evidence and urged the AGCO to enter into a dialogue with the industry.

With a new CEO of the AGCO being appointed by the time you read this (and a new Chair, Dave Forestell, already in place), we anticipate that

there will be further dialogue on these controversial proposals and additional changes. And we will continue to advocate for our members to have as full a toolkit as possible when it comes to marketing opportunities.

We are also committed to moving the industry forward in terms of offering safe and sustainable products and raising the bar for player protection. The CGA, through our recently initiated Responsible Gambling and Player Protection strategy, is bringing together a new group of stakeholders who are now part of the regulated industry – broadcasters and sports leagues – as they recognize the shared responsibility to promote our products in a responsible manner. This strategy will lead to ongoing dialogue among industry stakeholders, regulators, and conduct and manage entities to ensure that together, we make sound evidencebased policy decisions.

Lastly, iGaming Ontario (iGO) just released its Q1 numbers. Here is a comparison of the current market with the first quarter last year, which opened on April 4, 2022, with 12 operators and ended that Q1 with 18 operators:

• Total handle rose from $4.076bn to $14bn.

• Total online gambling revenue increased from $162m to $545m.

• The number of active player

accounts has almost doubled from 492,000 to 920,000.

• The average monthly spend per active player account has jumped from $113 to $197.

After several quarters of growth and new operators entering the Ontario market and ramping up their activities, we are now able to see the true picture of Ontario’s iGaming market emerge. With annualized iGaming GGR (gross gaming revenue) appearing to be approximately $2bn annually, Ontario has benefited from strong investment, job creation, and economic development impacts that go beyond government revenues.

Lastly, the CGA looks forward to working with all our partners in Alberta on the province’s online gaming strategy. Premier Danielle Smith recently tasked the new minister responsible for gaming, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, Hon. Dale Nally in her mandate letter as follows: “Working with Indigenous partners, finish developing and implementing Alberta’s online gaming strategy with a focus on responsible gaming and provincial and Indigenous revenue generation.” We welcome the opportunity to expand regulated gaming in Alberta. 7 CGA COLUMN
Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.
We will continue to advocate for our members.

Pointing towards SUCCESS

8   Fall 2023 COVER STORY

PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel talks to CGB about selling the US business to Fanatics and standing out in Ontario by using a local approach despite being an Australian business. 2023

has proven to be a landmark year for PointsBet. During the summer, after a tug of war involving DraftKings, shareholders approved a USD$225m offer from Fanatics to sell its US business.

The Australian-headquartered operator was live in 14 states, with a TAM worth 35% of the US adult population, but had decided to call it quits south of the border while holding onto its Canadian unit.

PointsBet Canada is under the tutelage of Scott Vanderwel, who had nothing but good words to say about his colleagues in the US and the successes that led to the sale.

“We’re really proud of the business that we built in the US and the success that business achieved,” he said. “It was a bold ambition to show up when New Jersey legalized and proclaim that they were going to enter the market to become one of the top players in that marketplace.

“This sale in the US to Fanatics is a logical next step in the evolution of the US business. What’s become clear as the industry in the US has matured is the importance of having scale and having financial support in order to compete.”

When the deal was announced, naturally there were question marks over the Canadian

business, with the Ontario market now being the sole flag-bearer for PointsBet’s international presence away from its Aussie roots.

But Vanderwel told CGB that the Canadian unit, having enjoyed a successful first year in the Ontario market, will not only continue to act business as usual but will flourish. Because, for PointsBet, the North American opportunity was not necessarily a bundle, but rather a series of local opportunities.

“We’ve always sort of set ourselves up regionally, in more independent, locallyoriented businesses. So the decision around Canada, and what was going to happen with Canada remained a discrete choice. It wasn’t necessarily a choice that had to be commingled with the US opportunity.

“In many ways, it is business as usual. We had a good first year, a solid first year. We didn’t start with the benefit of a pre-existing database or anything but what we had was a strategy, some great technology, and some world-class leadership talent globally.”

That sense of locality runs deep throughout PointsBet and, for Vanderwel, this project seemed to fit perfectly with his own background. A proud Canadian, he is a graduate of the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario and went on to work at Monitor Group and Rogers, before becoming one of the first couple of employees for PointsBet in Canada. 9 COVER STORY
10   Fall 2023 COVER STORY
Part of our strategy is to be loud enough and visible enough that people give us a try. Once they try us, they like us.

This local knowledge has helped the firm to access fanbases through high-quality partnerships with teams such as the Raptors, Leafs, and the Redblacks, which Vanderwel explained has portrayed PointsBet as a local Canadian business.

“Most people in Ontario that know PointsBet would think of us as a Canadian entity. We’ve been proudly local in the way in which we set ourselves up. We have an office in downtown Toronto, we have a team on the ground here, and we have most of the functions that you need to run a business or have representation in the country.”

In a demonstration of its commitment to Ontario and Canada in general, reflecting its growing importance despite the US sale to Fanatics, PointsBet built and continues to invest in a local technology team. Focusing on supporting the proprietary technology that PointsBet is known for, the team is local but supports the operator’s global product and leverages the highquality skills that Toronto as a major city is known for.

“Canada fits into our model wonderfully, in that we have a highly-educated workforce here,” Vanderwel explained. “The economics of building the team in Canada are reasonable. They’re not as favorable as some jurisdictions like India, but their proximity to the market and proximity to the operations creates other advantages.”

This is because PointsBet prides itself on having excellent

technology and a user-friendly product. After all, as Vanderwel outlined, exciting sports teams deals are all well and good but “if we had a crap product, it wouldn’t have mattered”.

“The reality is PointsBet has one of the best products in the world, particularly on the sportsbook side. So part of our strategy is to be loud enough and visible enough that people give us a try. Once they try us, they like us. It’s not that we’re their only book, it’s not that they stop having competitive choices available to them. But the success we’re seeing is around the places where we’re most differentiated, like in-play markets”.

This differentiation and locality strategy is paying off for PointsBet, which is displaying strong growth in Ontario already. In the group’s most recent earnings, the Canadian unit’s revenues climbed by over 3,000%. It is, of course, early days, yet this growth offers a sense that things are moving in the right direction.

Vanderwel commented: “I don’t feel like we finished the book. If anything, we’ve just opened it and we have just finished the first chapter. So I look at the roadmap we have on how our product is going to continue to evolve. That’s extremely exciting.”

Ontario is an incredibly competitive market, which has stoked intense marketing activities from operators across the province. CGB has examined the role that advertising is playing in the market and some of the backlash that operators are facing.

Since then, the AGCO has conducted a consultation on the use of celebrities and sports stars in marketing material. While playing down some of the complaints around marketing volume, Vanderwel is largely supportive of AGCO’s action.

“What seems to be emerging with reasonable clarity is that having celebrities in whatever form they take that are of appeal to minors is probably an area that needs to be clarified in the regulations. Having active athletes as spokespeople is probably an area where there needs to be clarification in the regulations. From my perspective, I understand why the regulator would be looking at both of those things.”

Moving forward, PointsBet is looking forward to implementing its long-term strategy post the sale of its US business. This move, the company states, will help the rest of the group breakeven whilst providing a boost to its balance sheet.

While the US business is parting from the group, it is evident that, under Vanderwel’s leadership, the Canadian business is proud to be in Ontario and is in it for the long run.

“When we look at Australia and Canada in combination, we will be about breakeven, close to being self-sufficient, and building our future from there is pretty exciting. There’s an awful lot of opportunity for us to continue to grow and continue to be ambitious about the opportunities that exist in this space globally.” 11 COVER STORY

We’re all in this together

Catherine Meade, VP of Community, Sustainability & Social Responsibility at OLG, tells CGB all about her role and how important it is for a public body to create social good.

12   Fall 2023 INTERVIEW

When sitting down with Catherine Meade, the unfiltered passion for her area of expertise is abundantly clear. Not only is she speaking with CGB from the airport terminal, minutes away from her summer vacation, but she details every career step that led her into the role of VP of Community, Sustainability & Social Responsibility at OLG.

A career’s worth of voluntary work and community development before taking a step into practising law brought Meade into the crown provincial corp, where she leads community development and all things sustainability.

“If someone’s known me for most of my life it’s actually very consistent that I would find myself in this role,” she said. “So much of what I have done in my life, in my work hours, and in my off hours, has been about just focus on the community and community development and growth, growing a community and what can we do to make things better and so that’s really been truly from when I was a teenager involved in volunteering and areas and even from an academic perspective.”

Meade’s three-pronged role takes on a whole host of duties in OLG’s repertoire of social good which, intrinsically, is its entire purpose - “our raison d’etre is to be more than ourselves”.

In its most recent set of accounts, OLG revealed $359m in net profits to Ontario, $636m in local economic support and $29m invested in corporate responsibility.

On top of this, however, are the activations at local festivals and events which help to keep admission fees low or free, create jobs and stimulate economic growth. It is all part of Meade’s plan to “make things more accessible”.

She explained: “We usually do that by sponsoring free events and festivals, where our contributions help keep admissions free. For example, with the Jazz Festival that just took place, some of the stages people pay for, but at the OLG Stage, everything offered there is for free. That’s because our revenues come from the people of Ontario.”

That notion of public ownership, for Meade, is essential when considering her day-to-day role and making decisions on all facets of her work. When working on tasks such as the OLG RG strategy, Meade sees the tangible impacts of player protection tools such as education programs and deposit limits.

By imagining the people in the community who she cherishes, she states that her drive to make the best policies possible keeps her motivated.

“We take very seriously our responsibility to generate revenues for the province but when we’re talking about this, whether it’s our Responsible Gambling program, or really any aspect of what we’re doing, I think about my parents when they were alive, my neighbors, my cousins, my uncle - this is not an abstract thing. It’s really trying to make a concrete difference in people’s lives.

“We have one shareholder, but it’s the people of Ontario. You could say we have millions of shareholders, but it’s still the one and it’s the government of Ontario, representing the people of Ontario. So, to the extent that we’re concerned about our process, it’s about what can we do to make sure that we’re giving back as much as we can.”

When quizzed about the impact of the opening of Ontario’s regulated market on her role, Meade explained that, while competitive challenges exist, there are certain advantages that OLG has over new entrants. 13 INTERVIEW

“There are certain standards that are set by our regulators but, as a public body, we try to exceed them. I’m not referring to any other operator at all but understandably their goal might be simply to meet it. But as a public entity, we try to exceed it where we can.

“Having a market open forced us to up our game, in a way, on our offerings to customers. Is there more that we can offer? Are there certain things we can do? All the time we’re looking at how we can offer more and look at what we can do in every way.”

Another essential part of Meade’s role is to foster and curate OLG’s diversity strategy, ensuring that it is an inclusive place to both wager and work for. On the player side, OLG has made individual activations such as sponsoring Chinese New Year celebrations or creating individual RG messaging for different social groups.

Meanwhile, OLG has seven Employeeled Resource Groups to help staff feel involved in the organization as well as create a whole Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team, led by Tyjondah Kerr.

The results are that 43% of OLG staff as of 2021 identified as a member of an under-represented group, while 55% of senior executives identify as women.

“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. We can have a diverse workforce, but the fact that you’re safe enough and caring enough to create and get involved in Employee Resource Groups, that’s a real testament that drives how we’re doing as an organization where people feel like you can be their authentic selves and encourage others to be their authentic selves. OLG has really blossomed as an organization, both in terms of what we offer for our players, as well as what we demonstrate day in and day out.”

Despite the strong body of work that OLG has demonstrated when it comes to community, social responsibility and sustainability, Meade thinks there is always room for improvement with regards to these initiatives. She explained that the corporation will continually work to improve its practices on these fronts, whilst focusing on long-term benefits for both its employees and the people of Ontario.

“We have a multi-year approach for us to get from where we are today as an organization to where we’re wanting to be as an organization in terms of sustainability and social impact.

“We have got a blueprint for coming from a sustainability plan and we’ll be charting a course for us as an organization on how to be aligned and in sync with our social purpose goals because we consider ourselves a purpose-driven organization.” 15 INTERVIEW
This is not an abstract thing. It’s really trying to make a concrete difference in people’s lives.

Global Threat? PanCanadian Solution

While the legalization of sports betting improved safety from a consumer’s perspective, sports competitions are more vulnerable. Jeremy Luke, CEO of the CCES, explains why a national solution is required.

When single-event sports wagering was legalized in Canada back in 2021, it was a big win for sports entertainment and fan engagement. Offering sports fans the chance to bet on a plethora of games legally, with safe and regulated means of doing so, bringing the industry to millions of new users in the process.

But far from just providing economic benefits and extra entertainment to fans - most are aware of the rampant grey market before Bill C-218’s passage - the rise of legalized sports wagering poses risks to the integrity of sports. Matchfixing threats are not new to Canada, particularly looking back at the Canadian Soccer League scandal in 2012, but now

sports betting is in the legal framework, protecting the integrity of sports is more important than ever before.

Jeremy Luke, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, told CGB that the legalization of sports betting in Canada has indeed increased the risk of manipulation.

16   Fall 2023 FEATURE 17 FEATURE
The idea was that there would be a set of harmonized competition manipulation rules that all sports organizations in Canada could adopt.

“(That has) led to a really significant increase in the volume of gambling and advertising associated with sports wagering. With that comes the risk that competitions can be manipulated, in order for someone to benefit through the gaming market, and that’s really driven awareness of the issue.”

Luke and the CCES are developing methods and strategies to minimize the risks of match-fixing by posing a nationwide approach to beating these threats.

Together with the Canadian Olympic Committee, the CCES is working with six sports organizations to run a nationwide pilot to effectively manage the threat of manipulation.

“The idea was that there would be a set of harmonized competition manipulation rules that all sports organizations in Canada could adopt, whether they’re an Olympian or professional, or whatever they might be, that sets out the things that you can do and things you can’t do reporting requirements, all of which is currently outlined in the IOC’s code on the prevention of competition manipulation, and also within the Macolin Convention.

18   Fall 2023 FEATURE
Even though the numbers weren’t huge and headlinegrabbing, the fire is building.

“It mirrors the way that anti-doping works in Canada - once you have harmonized rules administered by an organization on behalf of sport, it works really well - so that was one of the outcomes from that symposium and what we’re working to try to move forward here in Canada.”

Taking inspiration from the Macolin Convention - the European Union’s framework to tackle match-fixing - the CCES is promoting communication and collaboration to keep on top of threats and avoid complacency. Despite the legalization of sports betting, Canada remains a low-risk country for manipulation, but Luke errs on the side of caution.

He added: “What’s critical here is that we identify the risks, and then we start to put in place measures now to mitigate against those risks. We don’t want to be having a discussion around an explosion in data from Sportradar that identifies manipulation. We want to get ahead of it and protect athletes from that risk.”

The CCES held a Symposium back in June dedicated to match-fixing and, despite the positive numbers coming from Canada - North American match-fixing numbers have not increased - there were warnings that Canada could not rest on its laurels.

Professor Richard McLaren, a Canadian lawyer, warned: “Canada is not immune to the global threat of competition manipulation in sport driven by the adoption of single-event sports betting and fueled by a grey market that persists despite the regulated market.”

Luke is all too aware of this, which is why the CCES is committed to a national approach to match-fixing, despite gaming very much being a provincial issue.

The CCES’ chief outlined that the provinces would be “pretty supportive” of the

pan-Canadian solution, but that sourcing funding and federal support for the proposals is easier said than done.

“The challenging part is trying to source funding, either through the federal government or through the provinces to support a pan-Canadian approach. We haven’t been successful, frankly, at this point in time.

“But part of the thinking with this is that through the regulated market and the taxation that exists on gambling there (could be) a way where a portion of that can fund this type of work, given the direct relation between it and the sport wagering that’s occurring.”

Despite this funding challenge, the sporting sector appears to be on the side of the CCES when it comes to the panCanadian approach. “I think what we heard at the symposium, though, was a desire for there to be some consistency across provinces as far as the regulation goes, but that would be more of a question for the regulatory bodies in each of the provinces.”

The pilot project expires in December, when the CCES and sporting partners publish their findings. But the CCES is eyeing an expansion of the scheme to the point where almost all sporting organizations are a part of it.

Until then, he warned, the country remains “quite vulnerable to manipulation” without a nationwide approach.

Luke concluded: “We started with six sports. We’ve worked to implement this template policy that we’ve created within those sports that’ve educated athletes in those sports. Our goal will be to increase the number of sports organizations to participate in the pilot project, and then ultimately try and get to a place where all sport organizations are part of this program.” 19 FEATURE
20   Fall 2023 QUEBEC

Jeu en ligne au Québec?

Ontario has reaped the benefits of establishing a regulated framework for online gambling and there is growing pressure to implement a similar system over the border in Quebec.

After the success of Ontario’s online gambling market launch last year, it was inevitable that the discourse turned to where would be next. While the majority of the talk is centred around developments in Alberta and British Columbia, a movement is taking place to expand the online gaming market eastwards to Québec.

The Québec Online Gaming Coalition, comprising several top-tier operators, launched earlier this year to promote a

licensed market in the FrenchCanadian province.

Nathalie Bergeron, a spokesperson for the Coalition, told CGB: “What we are trying to do is ask the government to address the fact that current regulations are completely outdated. What’s in place dates from the time when people had to physically go to a casino or to the races to place bets, and not taking into account at all the reality of online gaming, which has taken such a big place now in gamers’ habits.” 21 QUEBEC

After enviably observing what has happened in Ontario, stakeholders in Québec are working to emulate the market that, ultimately Québec helped to establish.

As Bergeron explained, the political tension between Ontario and Québec is palpable, particularly with regard to gaming. The Nadeau Report, an academic paper published in 2014 calling upon the government to implement a regulatory regime based on a licensing model aimed at private operators, is the Coalition’s “bible” and influenced Ontario’s governmental thinking when it came to opening its own market.

“It’s ironic because, over the past few years, our current government has had a tendency to compare a lot of what’s happening in Québec to Ontario. We feel that this would be a really good example of something they should compare themselves to because right now we’re really behind compared to where they are.

“Funnily enough, what taxpayers in Québec have paid for has inspired legislators in Ontario for their own system so we think it’s high time that our government listens to our own experts.”

According to the Coalition, there is ample appetite from consumers for a regulated model to expand into the province. Research shows that 66% of Québec voters are in favor of a licensing system while 75% would be in favor of monies collected by the government from

the system to be used to promote responsible gaming.

The group also claims it would bring in $230m a year: “Our current Québec government has been quoted on a number of occasions saying that they’re looking for new money sources, we’re giving them one that would bring a minimum of $230m a year, in addition to what they’re already getting from Loto-Québec. That’s quite a large sum of money that could be put to use both in terms of financing that system or helping the government address some of their other priorities.”

Bergeron, speaking on behalf of the Coalition, was particularly critical of Loto-Québec, claiming that despite its monopoly, it only holds around 20% market share in the province.

Yet there are detractors of the opening of legal markets worldwide, and this is something that had to be overcome in the Netherlands. Eric Konings, Policy Advisor of the Netherlands Online Gambling Association, told CGB about some of the issues the coalition, similar to QOGC, had before legalizing online gambling in 2021.

He said: “By the looks of it, this went pretty smooth. However, this majority is misleading. There were a lot of concerns around the regulation – the obvious concerns: will addiction grow? Will matchfixing flourish? And what about contribution to society?

“A majority of the lower house saw a technical need for channeling the market that existed already towards the locally regulated offer. The parties that voted against the law failed to see the importance of channeling or didn’t want to see it. Gambling has no friends.”

The Québec Online Gaming Coalition is all too aware of the opponents to gambling expansion, with fears over the impact on minors, the risks of increased problem gambling rates and the growth in advertising.

Advertising has been a big topic in Ontario, and even Bergeron outlined her irritation at the level of marketing that sportsbooks have produced in the neighboring province.

“There is too much advertising and as a consumer, I can tell you, during hockey games and the playoffs, I was the first one to get irritated because there’s so much. (But) we have an opportunity to decide what is acceptable, how much is acceptable, what we can advertise, and such a system in place would be able to allow the government to put the controls in place and decide what the companies are allowed to do or not do.”

Despite the Nadeau Report providing much of the recommendations for what turned into the Ontario igaming model, the Québec government doesn’t appear to be making much movement on legalizing such a model.

22   Fall 2023 QUEBEC

The Coalition concedes that it is going to be a long fight, but that it is determined to underline the benefits that a market would bring to both players, who would have more choice, and the government, which could help plug gaps in its economic budget.

“We’re in this for the long run, there is no timetable (on when government would act) because we know the government is going to decide at their own pace. What we want to make sure is that we’re providing them food for thought. We’re bringing to the forefront key examples that are showing that such a model is working.

“We’re hoping that they see the benefits for themselves, both in terms of the potential revenues

that they would be getting and the opportunity to protect gamers.”

So while Alberta and British Columbia press on, drawing closer to the Ontario model, Québec is left with the industry fighting to bring it further up the political debate.

But, as seen in Ontario, political battles can be won if the arguments are presented correctly.

As a piece of advice for those in Québec, NOGA’s Konings, who played a key role in bringing online gambling to the Netherlands, said: “On substance, we have seen in the Netherlands that principlebased regulation has led to an excess in marketing in advertising.

“As a rule of thumb, in a newly regulated market, we would suggest norm-based regulation on topics such as this one, but also duty of care, AML, etc. As an industry, it’s better to know where you stand and what is required from you, although it might hurt a bit short term. In the long run, this is better than principle-based regulation that needs to be corrected later. In the latter scenario, you will always be off worse.” 23 QUEBEC
What taxpayers in Québec have paid for has inspired legislators in Ontario for their own system.

Last year, SBC announced the takeover of the Canadian Gaming Summit. Entering the 26th edition of the Summit, many wondered how the events and media company would be able to build upon the long-lasting legacy of the established Summit and whether it would prove successful. Thankfully, as the 2,000 industry experts (over double the previous year) exited on the final day, it was evident SBC, in partnership with the Canadian Gaming Association, had provided the most focused, informative, and engaging event the Canadian sports-betting and igaming industry had seen.

Paul Burns, President and CEO of the CGA said: “Over the last ten years, SBC has shown themselves to hold the highest of standards when it comes to agenda content, production standards and, most importantly, attendee experience. They have time and time again shown themselves to be a company focused on pushing the

industry forward and with already great connections in the region, seemed the obvious choice when looking for a partnership.”

With a focus on expanding the production scale and elevating attendees’ experiences, SBC added an expanded exhibition floor, a host of newly-added networking parties, and a conference agenda focused on all Canadian provinces.

“I came to this event last year and it’s a very different feel this time around,” added Jai Maw, President at Betting Hero. “This event is evolving and SBC brought more creative companies and ideas. When I think about the innovations happening in the industry, the first event I go to is an event like this. I’m really impressed with SBC.”

Kicking off the Summit at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was the limited-capacity Player Protection Symposium. An SBC specialty, the

pre-day event presented attendees with a variety of player protectiondriven panel sessions highlighting how technology, advertising, and education can all be used to combat the threat of gambling harms.

Additionally, attendees were treated to an exclusive live session of ‘Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show’, featuring NHL superstar Glenn Healy (Director, National Hockey League Alumni Association). Delegates concluded the day equipped with the resources and knowledge to continue innovating in the industry whilst implementing greater and meaningful protection for players, an area often overlooked at industry events.

The conference agenda, featuring over 180 industry speakers, was split across three stages and seven conference tracks. With tracks such as Sports Betting, iGaming, Land-based, Affiliates & Advertising, and Payments & Compliance, amongst others, each room was at full capacity.

24   Fall 2023 CGS
CGB reflects on the Canadian Gaming Summit 2023, highlighting the changes implemented after SBC took custodianship of Canada’s premier gaming event for the first time.


The far-reaching scope of panel discussions highlighted the successes in Canada and how to further capitalize on them, as well as the market downfalls and how all Canadian provinces can learn lessons from more mature, global markets. The agenda walked attendees through topics such as the convergence of land-based and igaming operations, innovative technologies, and the intricacies of provincial regulations.

Additions to this year’s conference agenda also included another staple of SBC events, the roundtable sessions. Each table featured an expert in the chosen field, providing delegates with a more personal setting to discuss key industry talking points, whilst also giving them the opportunity to collaborate, clarify concerns and create connections with other event participants.

Discussion topics on the roundtables were all-encompassing and fruitful, touching upon issues such as regulatory and market developments, First Nations initiatives, and sports teams.

Catherine Meade, VP Community, Sustainability & Social Responsibility at OLG explained: “Having the opportunity to hear a panel that had our province’s attorney general as well as representatives from iGaming Ontario and the CEO of our regulator - you don’t get that very often, to get that opportunity to hear from all of them at the same time. That was huge in my view. Some real great thought has been put into who would be there, who would work together, and who can not only build on what the other is saying but there can be some different perspectives that can be shared with respect.”

26   Fall 2023 CGS

Alongside an impressive conference agenda, it was noticeable that SBC was set on giving attendees the best networking opportunities. An increased figure of 90 exhibiting brands and sponsors featured on the exhibition floor, as well as dedicated networking lounges. This gave the attending operators, affiliates, crown corporations, land-based establishments, regulators, lotteries, and First Nations-led business representatives the opportunity to forge meaningful connections with new and established brands and widen business potential.

“The conference and the networking opportunities have been absolutely great,” remarked Tejinder Kumar, CCO of Finixio. “This SBC event has been really good for myself to develop and understand the industry and how things work, how partners do things and I did make some good connections. Talking to people and picking their brains is really helpful - it’s really been good.”

SBC also introduced the Canadian Gaming Summit to a variety of events not only aimed at celebrating the achievements of established brands in the region, like the First Nations Gaming Awards 2023, but also nurturing and celebrating innovative up-and-comers.

This was particularly evident with the introduction of the inaugural SBC First Pitch start-up competition - a staple of SBC events, which, after an impressive pitch in front of a live audience and judging panel, saw Linemate awarded a prize package worth $37,000.

Networking events that were introduced to this year’s Summit included the highly-successful Global Gaming Women Breakfast, as well as a host of entertaining evening parties such as the Pre-registration drinks located at the Urban Waterfall Garden and the Official Networking Party held at the scenic Lavelle, providing a place for attendees to explore networking possibilities, in a fun and relaxed environment.

SBC’s first year of managing the Canadian Gaming Summit was one experience that many will not forget.

It will no doubt expand and evolve alongside the Canadian market, continuing to provide industry experts with educational panels, networking opportunities and the latest brands, services and products. SBC has cemented itself as a pillar of the Canadian market and will aid in many businesses making significant strides in a region that is showing no signs of slowing down. 27 CGS
SBC has shown themselves to hold the highest of standards when it comes to agenda content.

Best of the lot

The Canadian Gaming Summit 2023 took place June 13-15, featuring an array of high-profile voices and experts. In this section, CGB takes a look at some of the sessions, speakers, and quotes which really left their mark on the event.

28   Fall 2023 CGS


A few of the industry’s big hitters came out to bat as Tom Mungham (CEO, AGCO), Martha Otton (Executive Director, iGO) and Hon. Doug Downey (Attorney General, Ontario) discussed the first full year of operations in the province and what lessons and practices can be applied to other jurisdictions.

Downey opined: “I think the first year has gone great from a business and responsible gaming perspective. 40 operators coming into the market and projections of 85% of the black market coming in, that’s phenomenal in one year.”

Talk soon turned to pressing issues on the horizon.

“We have interprovincial and we have international, and so my head’s in that space a fair bit. I don’t want to talk too much about what I’m doing, but that is very much on my mind.”

Mungham, meanwhile, addressed one of the elephants in the room - that of advertisements for illegal entities. He said: “We’re pulling whatever levers we can to begin to work with media companies to be able to, as a first step, get some of that advertising down.”


This session discussed the lifting of the federal ban on singleevent sports betting in August 2021 and how each province has taken its own unique steps to regulation, rather than taking a uniform approach. According to Bruce Caughill (Managing Director Canada, Rush Street Interactive), firm action is required to address the grey market.

“At the very least there needs to be a real serious discussion, province by province, about that experience in Ontario, and what elements of that, if any, should play a role in the respective provinces.

“The idea of enforcement against the grey market has always been an issue. It’s still an issue today. But you really have two options. You either try to do something on the enforcement side, or you recognize that the best way to address the grey market is to regulate like Ontario did at 86-87% of the market.”


Balancing the growth of operators entering the market with the most important aspects of responsible gaming has been a battle for all concerned in the industry, but Ontario made lots of noise about how the market would protect players.

Dan Spencer (Director of Safer Gambling, EPIC Risk Management) stated his desire to see the industry weed out the slackers.

“I think the state of RG is in a good place. I think we’re off on the right foot. The ‘rotten apples’ that have not bought into RG will be forgotten, in the tails of history as it goes forward.”

Meanwhile, Shelley White (CEO, Responsible Gambling Council) called for a cash injection to ensure the sector keeps its foot on the gas.

“There’s a solid foundation for us to build upon. However, as the gambling industry grows in Canada, there is a need for us to increase the investment that we are making in responsible gambling and prevention education, in research in the ongoing adaptation and development of standards.”


Player protection was at the forefront of minds at CGS. This panel identified the personalization of technology as the crucial next step in managing player risk and decreasing the levels of problem gambling.

Bo Gray (Co-Founder, Wager Score) described his own practices and delivered an assessment of how technology can be best used to help consumers.

Gray said: “I like to call it smarter betting in the consumers’ hands. We’re more focused on empowering the consumer and putting responsible gambling and making that part of their toolkit and giving them the tools to do it responsibly.

“But affordability data plays a massive part of what we have now, which I think is the strongest thing that we understand how much money someone has before they start gambling.” 29 CGS

CanadianGaming Summit

30   Fall 2023 CGS

The Canadian Gaming Summit 2023 welcomed more 2,000 delegates to the Metro Toronto Convention Center and marked SBC’s first time in control of the event. Over three days from June 13-15, attendees enjoyed the Player Protection Symposium plus two days of conference content, topped off with an official networking party. 31 CGS
BRUCE CAUGHILL Managing Director Canada Rush Street Interactive ILKIM HINCER EVP & Chief Legal Officer Hard Rock International TOM MUNGHAM Chief Executive Officer The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
AMANDA BREWER Country Manager, Canada Kindred Group MARTHA OTTON Executive Director iGaming Ontario SCOTT WOODGATE Vice President Canada, BetMGM NOAH LEVY SVP of Product theScore Bet STEVE TUNISON Vice President of Gaming Lotteries and Gaming Saskatchewan SCOTT VANDERWEL CEO PointsBet Canada KATHERINE HENDERSON Chief Executive Officer Curling Canada DALE HOOPER General Manager Canada FanDuel MARIE-NOELLE SAVOIE Chief Compliance Officer and VP Legal, Compliance, Security British Columbia Lottery Corporation – BCLC

Not Everything is Black & White

Away from the burgeoning private licensed market in Ontario, the majority of Canada’s gaming market is dominated by lotteries. CGB takes a look at lotteries’ approaches to responsible gambling.

34   Fall 2023 LOTTERY

asting a glance over the Canadian gaming landscape - which largely is dominated by provincial lotteries with the notable exception of Ontario - responsible gambling policies are a defining aspect of the ecosystem.


As Aaron GlynWilliams, Director of Social Responsibility at OLG explained, it’s hard to think there’s someone in the ecosystem who would say “we don’t care about RG”.

Regardless, it’s important not to say one thing and do another, he remarked to an audience of stakeholders. GlynWilliams continued: “I think that you see that reflected in the rotten apples conversation. We can point out the common villain or the grey market operator that’s not coming into the regulated space.

“I think the bigger risk is to be caught being a hypocrite, to say publicly that you’re committed to RG, but to not have that reflected internally on the work that you’re doing and the priorities that you’re setting and making sure that you’re moving this space forward.”

On the other side of the nation to Ontario, British Columbia has been a focal point for regulatory change. Appearing in a separate session to GlynWilliams was Marie-Noelle Savoie, Chief Compliance Officer & VP of Legal, Compliance, and Security of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

On the regulatory side of things, the Cullen Report into anti-money laundering practices in the province has led to the Gaming Control Act, which Savoie explained has resulted in overarching changes to the regulatory regime.

However, the BCLC itself has been taking a forward-thinking approach to responsible gambling policies and practices. In fact, the lottery prefers to focus not on the idea of ‘responsible gambling’ but instead on the idea of ‘player health’.

“One thing I’m very proud of is that BCLC is really going into player health. We are trying to break the stigma around problem gambling, and really look at the people behind it.

“How are you to say whether your gaming is responsible or not? Words really matter, and that’s something that we are really trying to work on, to end the stigma around it. We also changed our voluntary self-exclusion program - we also don’t like that word, we are on a crusade to change all words to player health-related.”

This overhaul of language to break the stigmatization of problem gambling has extended to self-exclusion - the BCLC instead uses the term ‘game break’, whereby people simply take time off from gaming rather than excluding themselves from it.

This is a “much better word”, Savoie emphasized, as it implies that users can take a break from gambling but come back after a break - even one of several years - and play healthily again. To encourage a return to healthy play, the BCLC requires returning customers to take an online course once their break has finished.

Savoie continued: “We are working on making sure everything is not black and white, you either have an issue or you don’t. People can really come and go, and have issues in their lives that for example may mean they should stop gambling, but they can come back and be healthy.” 35 LOTTERY


Changes in how Canada’s plethora of lottery operators are approaching responsible and safer gambling are being seen across the board - for example, Lotteries and Gaming Saskatchewan (LGC) has joined the BCLC in enhancing its RG policies.

The landscape has been shifting, GlynWilliams argued on his panel, and as a result “leadership 10 years ago is not leadership today”. That is not to say that more cannot be done on RG though.

“We need to do more research,” he said. “We also have a lot of research that tells us what can be effective, and this is going to be critical for growth, it’s going to be critical for the sustainability of the industry broadly and that’s the commitment that I think all of us make, and I know we make at OLG, not only be to publicly proud of our leadership but to have the discussions internally to be moving things forward.”

36   Fall 2023 LOTTERY
Made in Canada since 1946
We have a lot of research that tells us what can be effective, and this is going to be critical for the sustainability of the industry.

Like the BCLC, OLG has also looked to player health as a key objective and has released its RG plan to the public. The company is striving to “keep moving the needle forward”, along with other operators and its partners, GlynWilliams asserted.

Offering a different perspective but still from the lens of the OLG, David Fraser - a Senior Director at the cooperationexplained its social responsibility initiatives and community support schemes.

Charity gaming - or CGaming - plays a big part in the group’s operations, Fraser explained. Additionally, OLG is active in product portfolio management, to ensure a “healthy and robust suite” of games that meet

customers’ expectations and generate money for charitable causes. Fraser continued: “I think a big part of that for me as an OLGer is that I’m extremely proud of our contribution to CGaming, $440m plus since the pilot, and it took us around 10 years to get to the first $150m, so we’ve come a long way since then.

“We’ve come a long way because we work together. We’ve come a long way because when we have a challenge that the industry is facing.

“I wouldn’t say in the last 10 years we’ve always agreed on every way forward but we come to agree on every way forward because we have healthy conversations and it’s something I’m most proud of with the contribution we have.” 37 LOTTERY The payment solution built for sports betting. Trusted by operators, preferred by players. Trustly is SBC’s “Payment Solution of the Year”

Unique, and for the greater good

Alberta’s Charitable Gaming model is the only one in the country that allows charities to gain licenses to carry out operations. Dave Berry, EVP of Public Engagement at the AGLC tells CGB what makes it so special. 39 LOTTERY

Charitable gaming is a cornerstone of the gaming industry across the country, with each province having its own method to ensure charities can benefit. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis model is a unique way of entrusting casinos and charities to cooperate in order to raise money for good causes.

Alberta is the only province where charities are licensed to conduct and manage table games at their casino events, while the AGLC operates slot activities on their behalf.

Dave Berry, the body’s EVP of Public Engagement and Chief Regulatory Officer, explained: “It’s unique in that we approach it from a couple of different perspectives. We have agreements with casino operators that help us conduct and run those events. On the same note, the charities also have an agreement to assist them conduct responsibilities for their two-day gaming event. What it means for Alberta charities is a really unique opportunity to earn a significant amount of revenue that can go to support their programs.”

Berry, who has spent over 10 years with the AGLC, was previously part of the Edmonton Police and worked his way up through the ranks of the organization. The Charitable Gaming model falls under his remit and, in his words, the importance of the initiative cannot be underestimated.

In its last financial report, the AGLC reported that around $255m was earned from charitable gaming casinos.

“That’s a lot of financial support to go to support programs and it makes Alberta unique because it’s a very significant amount of money going to charities, which is great. It also gives us a sense of purpose here, in some way to at least facilitate (it) and in many

regards working together (with casinos), because we do provincial gaming and charitable gaming facility at the same time, in unison.”

Not only does the AGLC facilitate the events and run the slot operations, it also fosters relationships with the charity organizations to ensure the events run as smoothly as possible.

Bidding to “remove red tape”, the organization allowed charities to use electronic raffle machines when the Criminal Code allowed for it as other provinces were hesitant to change from paper raffles.

This has had a positive effect on charities, as they have been able to run more efficient events. Berry used the example of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which used an electronic raffle machine that raised a record $17m thanks to a large jackpot boosting ticket sales.

He explained: “I’ve always been a big believer when I travel around the country then come back to Alberta and I see the kinds of dollars that Albertans are spending, they’re really generous when it comes to buying raffle tickets and supporting charitable gaming.”

Some of the good causes that have been boosted by Alberta’s model include youth programs for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into sports such as hockey, as well as food banks and homeless shelters across the province.

But like most of the industry, things took a hit during the COVID-19 lockdowns, which put the model into uncertainty from a revenue perspective. Yet, Berry praised the generosity of Albertans, who he said have helped return revenue to pre-pandemic levels.

40   Fall 2023 LOTTERY

“Just like anything, gaming dollars are very much discretionary spend. And so, you know, the groups had a very difficult two to three years through the pandemic, and revenues were drastically reduced. At the same time, emerging out of the pandemic this time last year was very encouraging, and returned our revenues and charitable revenues back to pre-pandemic levels.”

For all the work that AGLC does to license and manage the charitable gaming model, Berry was eager to point out that praise must go to the volunteers in Alberta who help to keep the charities running and who operate the two-day casino events.

“It makes you feel good that we’re able to help out but at the same time, we are incredibly proud of the volunteer sector in Alberta. Because proportionately for the size of our province, I think we punch above our weight in terms of volunteerism, and they do great work.”

After rolling with the punches throughout lockdowns and helping establish a friendly, red-tape-free charitable gaming model, the AGLC is always seeking to make things easier for charities to run successful events.

As Berry outlined, “charitable gaming is here to stay” and the AGLC

is adamant in its approach to support the operations and maximize the funds that charities can make with their twoday gaming events.

He concluded: “We’ve got an ongoing and continuous improvement effort in terms of our policy review and red tape reduction to ensure that we’re as lean and as efficient as we can be.

“But I still feel nervous about some other areas that we can still address. We’ll be focusing on having that buying public protected, having the game protected, and at the same time making things as easy as possible for groups to do their business.” 41 LOTTERY
We’ve got an ongoing and continuous improvement effort in terms of our policy review and red tape reduction.

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Evidence shows that Canadian audiences are big into Pragmatic Play slot releases, admiring established series such as Big Bass Bonanza and The Dog House. With this in mind, we picked out our favorite Pragmatic Play slot of recent times.

SET UP: 5x3 reels with 20-paylines

MAX WIN: x5,000


RTP: 96 per cent

FEATURES: Gold nugget symbols can appear with monetary values ranging from x0.5 to x250 the player’s stake. Landing nuggets on reels one, three and five on the same spin will activate five free spins. Throughout the game mode, nugget symbols will appear with their cash values blurred out. Randomly on any base game spin, these values can light up, resulting in the cash prizes displayed being awarded to the player.

In the free spins feature, all triggering nugget symbols will award their values to a meter beside the reels. Then, a bullet holster will spin through the high value character symbols, revealing one to be enhanced for the free spins game. This enhanced symbol will take the accumulated value of all triggering nugget symbols, and will award that value as a payout each time it appears across the board. 43 ONLINE CASINO
CGB has compiled a list of the industry’s latest slot releases for Canadian players to consider when heading to their preferred online casino.

FEATURES: Scroll scatters are available to land on the third reel, triggering the wild reel feature when they appear. Two wild reel features can occur. One occurs in the base game, while the other appears in the free spins game mode.

In the base game feature, between one and three full wild reels can appear, increasing the win potential substantially.

Often a top performer in several jurisdictions, Play’n GO’s Book of Dead has performed impressively in Canada. Aiming to replicate this success is another archaeological adventure from the studio, taking place in an ancient tomb.

SET UP: 5x3 reels with 50-paylines

MAX WIN: x5,000


RTP: 96.31 per cent

Meanwhile, in the free spins, three to five wild reels can drop into play. Also, during the free spins, a scroll scatter can appear during the wild reel feature.

When the scroll scatter appears, a second tier for the wild reel feature occurs, in which the wild reels can have multipliers of x2, x4 or x11 and additional spins can be awarded.

Hacksaw Gaming is another studio said to have a significant pull in the Canadian gaming space, so it feels only right to include one of its latest releases, witnessing the return of the loveable Canny the Can.

SET UP: 5x6 reels with 7,776-ways to win

MAX WIN: x10,000


RTP: 96.21 per cent

FEATURES: Drop arrow symbols can drop into play. These arrows will shoot off of the screen from the bottom, removing any symbols that it drops past and allowing new symbols to drop in their place.

Three free spin modes are on offer, each triggered by a different number of scatters appearing at once. Three scatters will trigger the drop spins bonus, which creates a higher chance of landing drop arrow symbols. Meanwhile, four

scatters activate the high drop spins bonus, in which only high value or wild symbols can drop in after drop arrow removals.

For this specific feature, drop upgrade symbols are available, causing between one and five symbols to be removed from the pool of symbols able to appear after the removals.

In the third and final free spins option only the wild symbol can appear in the drop arrow pool of symbols.

44   Fall 2023 ONLINE CASINO

FEATURES: This game uses dud symbols, appearing as transparent versions of the standard symbols. While these dud symbols cannot provide wins, matching them in adjacent combinations will cause them to disappear and make way for paying symbols.

Throughout the game, collection boxes sit beneath each reel. When symbols disappear due to cascading wins, multiplier


Fans of retro slot releases will be endeared by Push Gaming’s new title that introduces players into rodent royalty and offers star multiplier wins, Rat King.

SET UP: 6x6 reels with scatter-pays

MAX WIN: x10,000


RTP: 96.3 per cent

stars can fall into these collection boxes to apply their multiplier value to any wins that occur on the same spin.

In the free spins feature, star multipliers will not only apply themselves to wins on the same spin, but to a meter above the reel set. This multiplier meter will then apply itself to any multiplier star wins that occur on subsequent turns, while remaining inactive for standard wins.


Another supplier aiming to make waves in the Ontarian igaming space is Wizard Games, and it only makes sense to dip into the studio’s archives to find a game showcasing Canada’s most loved sport with Ice Ice Hockey.

SET UP: 5x4 reels with 40-paylines

MAX WIN: x17,000


RTP: 96.6 per cent

FEATURES: Hockey puck wilds are in the game, substituting for every symbol other than the scatter. These wilds can have a multiplier and will give a payout between x1 and x10 the player’s stake, depending on the amount of winning combinations that land at once.

During random spins, hockey puck wilds can be launched onto the reels. Wilds can be shot onto the same square as

another wild, increasing the multiplier value of the wild on that square. If two or more wilds are awarded and placed onto a winning combination, then the multiplier value of each wild will be added together and implemented to the payout.

When three or more scatters land on the reels, the free spins feature is activated. During this mode, wilds can appear on the board as sticky wilds, staying in place as the free spins take place. 45 ONLINE CASINO
46   Fall 2023 INTERVIEW



When an excellent gaming resort operation meets a picturesque, reachable location, it can make for a surefire business opportunity. So when speaking with Chief Ted Williams, leader of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, it is difficult not to feel his infectious enthusiasm for Casino Rama, which is burrowed on the northern banks of Lake Simcoe, just 90 minutes away from the bright lights of Toronto.

The casino first opened back in 1996 and became an instant hit with patrons as the 2,200 slot machine-equipped location drew in around $590m in its first year. Things have quietened since its heyday, but Casino Rama remains an establishment outside of the city that still takes an average of around $400m per year.

“Casino Rama is just as critical to us as (other gaming operations) to the provinces and the Federal Government of Canada to continue

to generate not just revenues, but job creation, and the spin-off effect of other economic opportunities as a result of having a gaming facility, in our community,” Chief Williams explained to CGB.

While Casino Rama missed out on global megastars like Tina Turner and Billy Joel, Chief Williams joked, the venue has played host to an array of celebrities who have performed at its entertainment venue in the last 25 years. This was all possible because the Rama First Nation won a bidding process back in 1994 to develop Casino Rama, which then opened in 1996, boasting 3,400 employees in the ‘90s.

How does Chief Williams know this information so well? “I was the fella who wrote the bid that won! I was the individual who was in charge of developing Casino Rama back in ‘95 and ‘96. Then I moved into a VP role in the summer of ‘96 and I stayed for five years. 47 INTERVIEW
Ted Williams of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation tells CGB about how Casino Rama in Ontario came to be, as well as the current relationship between the gaming industry and the First Nation group.

“When the casino opened, we thought we’d do $250m that first year and we thought we’d need about 1,300 people to make that happen. Obviously, we more than doubled that and we had more than double the staff.”

Now, though, that heyday is over and the Rama First Nation is no longer the operator of the casino, merely a landlord to Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, which won the contract at its last tender in 2018 until 2031.

Chief Williams asserted that, with a vested economic interest in the casino’s continued success, he longs for a day when the Rama First Nation can become involved in gaming operations once more.

“Do we feel like we’re getting a fair deal with the provincial government? I’ll be honest with you. No, I don’t. Having said that, we are in constant communication with representatives from the provincial government, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, and they know our position that we would like that opportunity in the event that anything were to occur in the marketplace with operators. We’re right here and we’re not going anywhere.”

First Nations have long felt they are unfairly treated when it comes to gaming operations and Chief Williams was candid with his opinions when it comes to governmental relations - which he explained are always rather difficult.

And of course, running a casino in 2023 or 2031 is a much bigger challenge than in the ‘90s given the rise of online gaming, particularly in Ontario. So, would Rama First Nation seek to explore the possibility of joining the online gaming business?

“Well, the more you have, the more you want and we’re no different in that regard. It seems that because we are a First Nation, we need to jump through more hoops in order to get a deal done with the government, largely the provincial government because the provincial government is the government that conducts and manages gaming.

“We did have a bid in the bundles that were distributed during 2018. We were right there as one of the two finalists to operate Casino Rama but we didn’t get it even though a component of that bidding process involved a First Nation component.”

Back to the brick-and-mortar casino business, Chief Williams asserted that the Rama First Nation can boast significant expertise when it comes to gaming. With a vested interest in the business for 27 years, he explained, the First Nation has people “who know what’s going on and how the casino operates”.

“We have our own internal expertise now and so we understand how things work with the casino, we understand the marketing aspect of it and how to drive traffic to the casino, stay-and-play marketing towards

various new special groups, and the high roller component, we understand all that stuff. I’ve always said, it doesn’t really matter what it is, if you offer a great product at a great price, and you back it up with great servicethat’s it.”

Before rounding off the conversation with Chief Williams, CGB asked what, if anything, he would change about the industry. Harking back to the heydays of the 90s’, when the money was rolling in for the First Nation, he wished for one thing.

“All we want is a fair chance to compete with the Metro market and we will show you what we can do. Just give us that chance.” 49 INTERVIEW
All we want is a fair chance to compete with the Metro market and we will show you what we can do.

Evolution of AML risk management in gaming

Anti-money laundering (AML) and responsible gaming (RG) enforcement actions in the global gaming industry are on pace to see an increase of 143% since 2021. Over the past 18 months, there have been 48 enforcement actions against gaming organizationscompared to just 15 actions in 2021 - with more than one major operator having its gaming licence suspended.

This paradigm shift has followed the global rise in the popularity of sports betting, online gaming, and the opening of massive new markets in the digital frontier of gaming, which has also increased concern around player harm, money laundering, and fraud.

The interconnection between problem gambling, money laundering, and fraud is becoming clear. Individuals with addictions who engage in problematic play often fuel these addictions by means of fraud and money laundering. Many leading operators are now housing their responsible gaming teams within their AML compliance function or, at least, under their overall compliance and risk management function.

Regulators have also shifted their focus towards AML and RG in a big way. Over the past three years, 55% of the enforcement actions have been joint actions inclusive of both AML and RG issues.

50   Fall 2023 AML
The global gaming industry faces and increasing issues when it comes to anti-money laundering and responsible gaming, prompting swift action across the board, writes Kinectify CEO Joseph Martin. 51

As regulators turn their attention to the social responsibility of gaming operators, they are jointly ramping up their AML examination capabilities and looking at both issues as interconnected matters.

The advancement of technology and the proliferation of AI has also caught the attention of both regulators and operators, with calls to modernize risk management across both AML and RG. This evolution in gaming risk management is multi-faceted and the future is exciting. As we evaluate some of these facets, a number of themes have emerged.


Gaming’s technological landscape is marked by the persistence of legacy systems. Many of the old-guard technology suppliers in gaming are still clenching onto large marketshare with

code basis from 1970-1990. Some of these coding languages like TCL and Pascal are pre-web-based development and completely unknown to modern software engineers.

The result of these legacy systems in AML risk management often manifests in on-premise solutions that are limited to a single casino property instance. This means that data across casino properties is not connected together and/or the system is not very adaptable. While gaming operators may initially be attracted to the seemingly economical price tags of such solutions, the reality is more nuanced. The substantial cost of maintaining these systems is often concealed within the casino’s IT operating expenses including the upkeep of infrastructure, data processing, and ongoing support. These hidden expenditures underscore the complexity and potential inefficiency of relying on outdated technology.

52   Fall 2023 AML

More importantly than cost, these systems cannot enrich data through external means such as APIs or other methods. They are not adaptable, making them poorly suited for AML or RG purposes. Gaming organizations are now in the process of transitioning away from these legacy systems onto more modern Software as a Service SaaS platforms that provide a range of modern features critical to AML and RG risk management.


Operators are swiftly embracing new AML technologies, characterized by their capacity to centralize data and monitor player activity throughout the enterprise. This pivotal feature is a critical component of AML, RG, and fraud prevention and an expectation of regulators.

In May 2023, news broke that a single player racked up more than $4m in suspicious buy-ins across Ontario gaming facilities. Individual casinos reported the activity, but there was a lack of action. Neither the individual casinos nor the collective gaming facilities managed to link the player’s activities across multiple sites to detect the underlying pattern.

This issue is not unique to Ontario; it is a global gaming issue. Historically, modern software was not available to appropriately aggregate and track

data across different casino properties and business units. That capability exists today, with both operators and regulators seeking to leverage this technology to its fullest, leading to a more robust and unified approach to player monitoring that spans AML, RG, and fraud.


Jurisdictional systems are the next frontier in AML and RG monitoring. Ontario is leading the charge with a Request for Proposal RFP underway for a province-wide AML system that monitors operators and player activity both in land-based and online gaming. Other jurisdictions are exploring this new concept as well, recognizing that the technology to establish a genuine AML ecosystem across a jurisdiction exists. Authorities are exploring their legal frameworks and appetite for various levels of monitoring.

Some jurisdictions are demonstrating a keen interest in AML tools, such as monitoring risk metrics and dashboards, that allow them to better regulate operators against current AML standards. They are also interested in smarter regulations that respond to risk trends in their jurisdictions as opposed to outdated rote policies and regulations disconnected from true risk.

Other authorities go further and want to track and monitor player activity across all gaming sites in a jurisdiction

to pick -up on suspicious activity that a single gaming operator could not see. This new evolution in monitoring at a jurisdictional level is not unique to gaming. Over the past several years, five Dutch banks (ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank, Triodos Bank, and de Volksbank) have worked together on a partnership to jointly monitor transactions across their system of banks for unusual patterns in payment traffic, which their respective individual companies could not identify alone.

Establishing this umbrella transaction monitoring system across separate legal entities is rare. Many legal frameworks lack the provisions to facilitate information exchange of this nature. However, this rarity could be an emerging trend, as jurisdictions continue to grapple with money laundering issues, motivating authorities and organizations to adapt.

One thing is clear: jurisdictional systems will be an integral component of regulators’ AML and RG programs in the future. As gaming authorities scale their AML and RG teams, they are actively seeking better ways to work with operators and to protect the integrity of the gaming system in their jurisdiction. We are only in the beginning stages of this new frontier, and it’s evident that both AML and RG risk management at the jurisdictional level are on a transformative trajectory, heralding a more unified and effective approach to existing AML challenges. 53 AML
Many leading operators are now housing their responsible gaming teams within their AML compliance function.


Quixant demonstrates its support for the industry at G2E 2023, and elaborates on the expansion of its range of Intel-based solutions with the launch of its latest IQON hardware platform.

As content and the customer experience are key delivering world-class games or marketleading sports betting kiosks and terminals, Quixant’s range of solutions has been developed to enable customers to get more from their hardware. Additionally, with Quixant’s global supply chain expertise and the specialist technical support provided by its team, customers can focus their efforts on taking their content and the customer experience to the next level.

To ensure customers’ products are the best they can possibly be, Quixant developed its range of game-changing hardware platforms, IQ, IQON, and QMAX. Available with both Intel and AMD options, the platforms are suitable for different market and budget requirements and come in varying levels of power and performance. Our partners can choose Intel or AMD as part of their hardware platform, safe in the knowledge that the Quixant software and service is exactly the same – no transition and integration risk –just leave it to the experts at Quixant.

54   Fall 2023 CASINO

After launching its Intel-based QMAX hardware platform at ICE 2023 - which is designed to deliver the highest resolution content and the ultimate player experience - Quixant is pleased to be expanding its existing IQON range to now include an Intelbased product.

With more features and benefits inside the latest version of the IQON, this elite solution is the ideal platform to develop and deliver immersive game content and exceptional sports betting experiences in record time. The fanless, all-in-one platform will allow customers to increase the performance of their products, enhancing the customer experience, whilst ensuring regulatory compliance as it meets the requirements of all major global gaming jurisdictions, including GLI-11.

Like all of Quixant’s hardware platforms, the Intel-based IQON will come with its effective integrated Software Suite solutions as standard, with essential and enhanced features. Designed with the requirements of the gaming and sports betting industries in mind, they have been created so customers can benefit from these onboard, specialist software solutions, and spend their time optimizing content that keeps their customers engaged and entertained for longer, leading them to return again and again.

Powered by its market-leading hardware platforms, Quixant’s range of cabinet and kiosk solutions will also be showcased at its booth at G2E, which includes the Quantum which has been designed for the gaming industry, and the Qinetic developed for the sports betting industry.

Both come with a comprehensive suite of peripherals, are highly

configurable, and are available with a range of display and button desk configurations, which can be tailored to meet customers’ individual requirements, with the support of our in-house specialist product development team.

Duncan Faithfull, EVP, and CCO at Quixant commented: “Our gaming partners are finding sourcing and developing hardware solutions to be overly time-consuming and distracts them from developing their points of differentiation in a competitive market. Now more than ever, manufacturers are looking to outsource aspects of their hardware, so they can focus on creating the best games and sports betting experiences on the planet.”

Duncan continued: “Our renowned, powerful, and reliable hardware platforms and Software Suite solutions have been enabling our customers to outsource this aspect with confidence that everything required from a power, performance, security, and regulatory perspective for the gaming and sports betting market is covered. Expanding on the existing range has been key in this climate, giving customers even more variety, with both Intel and AMD options, and different power and performance options dependent on the needs of the market they operate in. This has enabled our customers to further enhance their product offering, and for some, to explore new markets.

“We are always here to guide and advise customers on the best solutions for their needs and support them throughout their entire product development journey and beyond, helping them to seamlessly integrate all elements of their products and to enhance the performance of their Quixant solutions. 55 CASINO
Quixant is pleased to be expanding its existing IQON range to now include an Intel-based product.

“With offices, operations, and suppliers across the globe, working closely in collaboration with customers, and providing our dedicated customer support portal and resource center, the Quixant Hub, we ensure that customers always get the products and support they need when they need it. These aspects enable our customers to get their cabinets, kiosks, and terminals to market faster, making them stand out from the crowd, and adding the wow factor that stops customers in their tracks and keeps them coming back.”

The executive concluded his remarks, noting: “The Software Suite solutions

which come with all platforms as standard are now supplemented by our ‘Custom Software Services’ - a range of consultancy solutions which help customers to deliver their content in the richest clarity to their chosen markets. Quixant provides the expertise to link its hardware; software and customers’ content to make it the best it can possibly be. We look forward to discussing this with attendees at the show, and exploring how we can partner to best support them to achieve their objectives.”

Quixant looks forward to once again exhibiting at G2E in Las Vegas

to demonstrate its support for the industry. The firm’s team of global gaming and sports betting technology experts will be at G2E from October 10–12, where they will be showcasing its existing range of hardware platforms, cabinets, kiosks, and Software Suite solutions, and launching the latest Intelbased IQON product.

Find out how you can get ahead of the game with Quixant’s range of nextgeneration technology. Meet our team of global gaming technology experts, including our dedicated LatAm team at G2E booth 2640, or arrange a time to meet us in advance at

56   Fall 2023 CASINO

Meeting next- gendemandCanadian

Ian Catchick, Chief Product and Business Development Officer at BetGames, writes for CGB to explain how its new Twain Sport product can harmonize with sports bettors and casino players alike.

For Canadian readers who might not know us, BetGames is now in its 11th year in the industry, and we’ve made a name for ourselves by creating casino-like entertainment and live dealer content that makes sports fans feel right at home.

Our latest launch, which is already live with over 40 global operators, is Twain Sport –delivering non-stop, fixed-odds sports betting for the new generation of bettors.

We launched Twain Sport back in the second half of 2022, and the results have been fantastic.

Our goal is to deliver casino-margin content, in the style of sports betting, to

that demographic that demands more from their entertainment.

To appeal to a truly global fanbase, Twain Sport delivers high-octane tournaments of basketball and football, every 60 seconds. Totaling 1,440 matches each day and broadcast 24/7, our fastpaced, action-packed events are the perfect proposition for operators.

It all started with a basic idea to introduce high-quality, unique, and competitive live sports content, aimed at customers who wanted short and fast action. We then introduced a product that delivered intensive short-form, prerecorded live rounds of both sports. 57 CONVERGENCE

Ensuring high turnover and low stakes for extended sessions of engagement, Twain Sport offers something that few, if any, product verticals can – one that appeals to sports and casino fans alike, as well as being designed to truly appeal to a next-gen audience better than any other studio.

We believe this perfectly hits the sweet spot of what both operators and players are looking for. For a start, the average Canadian bettor is between 25 and 35 years old, which is the exact demographic we’re here to entertain.

We all know next-gen players are looking for instant thrills and excitement, just like you have with casino games. This is particularly the case if sports matches are playing out on television and players are looking for additional entertainment via mobile.

We take that passion for sport and bring that format into play, bridging both 24/7 sport and high-frequency betting, without any of the barriers to entry you’ll see with many casino games.

We see this as the future of entertainment. Bringing sports into the casino world means attracting sports fans and moving them away from the lower margins associated with in-play sports betting.

By doing that, we’re able to offer a customer lifetime value on a par with casino margins – while greatly boosting your customer base.

There’s no other betting product that comes close to what Twain offers. We repackage the basic USPs of slots,

virtuals, and live casinos into one and deliver it in a fixed-odds format where sports fans can feel right at home.

To bring sports punters closer to the casino world, our approach revolves around a few key principles. Our mission is to provide rich, familiar, and unique content that delivers highquality live entertainment experiences.

This draws on our core competencies of broadcast, game design, and our skills in intuitively knowing and understanding how to create content that our players enjoy.

For next-gen players, it’s all about providing an experience that is as simple and accessible as possible. They’re telling us quite clearly that what they really want is high-quality, engaging, rapid-play, simple-tounderstand content.

We know that Twain provides that and more – in launching our gamechanging vertical, we’ve done it exactly in a way that deals with the time pressure that the next-gen players have on their demand for entertainment.

We know that they’re very keen to enjoy a combination of what they know right now – in our case – easily understandable sports formats - and newer concepts that enhance their playing experience.

I have no doubt that our launch in Canada with multiple tier-one operators will be a fantastic chance to showcase why this new, shorter-form style of betting content is exactly what the market is demanding right now.

58   Fall 2023 CONVERGENCE

We all know next-gen players are looking for instant thrills and excitement, just like you have with casino games.

The crucial thing to remember is that our players’ time is very precious, and they want to ensure that the action on offer is high-quality, rapid, and revolves around the rest of the entertainment mix.

Twain Sport’s action-packed nature with immediate rewards and a fantastically high production quality

allows us to deliver on that goal. We see it as the future, catering to the new generation of players who are looking for instant thrills and payouts. We’re very excited by the prospect of introducing it to another new audience and I’m sure it will be a game-changer for operators looking to entertain nextgen players. 59 CONVERGENCE

All-In on AI All-In on AI

60   Fall 2023 AI


Q.CGB: As we all know, AI is becoming increasingly prominent in the betting and gaming industry - both in North America and Europe. Why do you think we’re seeing more companies tapping into AI? What are its main case uses?

RS: Companies are harnessing AI because it’s a tool that can do things humans can’t at a rate that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. For example, monitoring and managing millions of accounts at once in real time is impossible for even a team of humans to do manually.

There are a number of AI use cases. First, the industry is vulnerable to money laundering. Brick-and-mortar casinos do high volumes of cash-intensive transactions which some criminals have used to engage in money laundering activities. AI’s data processing abilities can greatly enhance anti-money laundering, fraud detection, and suspicious activity by analyzing transaction data and identifying anomalous activity usually associated with money laundering.

AI can be used to forecast player behavior and provide customized player experiences to enhance retention and optimize revenue. 61 AI
Segev, Partner at Segev LLP, speaks about the opportunities and threats posted by the rise of AI, as well as how regulators can keep up with the rapidly changing technology.
We need to address the temptation to circumvent privacy restrictions.

In this example, a player’s player data can be analyzed to determine if the player is exhibiting behavior associated with players slowing play down or cashing out and closing accounts down. The AI tool can prompt an operator to send that player a bonus offer to retain and re-engage the player. By the same means, AI can analyze player behavior to determine if a player is exhibiting signs of problem gambling and prompt an operator to take appropriate action.

CGB: We don’t seem to have many regulations around this technology. In your opinion, what should states be looking to monitor when drafting new legislation?

RS: The major issues are privacy, data ownership, and responsible gambling concerns. AI player profiling and tailored incentivization are powerful and could be used in either a predatory manner or even inadvertently to push vulnerable players into problem gambling. There is already AI made for use in casinos to calculate the lifetime value of different players to the casino and manage “player churn” and retention, as it’s more lucrative to upsell existing players than recruit new ones. This is beneficial for gaming operators, but there is a point where, if unregulated, it could become harmful to the players. The new Gaming Control Act coming into force in British Columbia, for example, has moved towards full regulatory oversight around

problem gambling, including those specifically related to the design of games.

Data privacy and the unique issues AI can create will also need to be addressed. AI may be using and incorporating player information as training data into the AI itself and using it to some degree in the AI’s later outputs. How do we reconcile this with the right to erasure under GDPR? Consumers may lose control of their data, and given how complex AI algorithms can be, they may not have the necessary transparency to give informed consent to the use of their data in the first place.

CGB: What do you think are the key legislative and regulatory challenges that need to be taken into consideration when utilizing AI technology within the gaming sector?

RS: I think we need to strike a balance between allowing investment and innovation with sufficiently strong ethics and player protection requirements. There are numerous risks that AI could pose, like privacy risks and potential bias and discrimination in player profiling. For example, AI input data errors that are not discovered, or that are found but cannot be corrected within the AI could create problems and ultimately prevent the AI from performing its task, such as accurately identifying problem gamblers. Player data collection could also veer too far into unlawful surveillance.

We need to have a clear understanding of what the technology can do so that they can foresee challenges and regulate accordingly. What level of technology disclosure would be required by regulators for them to be satisfied an AI technology is compliant? Will regulators force companies to give out their “secret sauce” in order to maintain compliance? Is that necessary to safeguard players?

CGB: What are the player data implications of using AI technology? And how do gaming companies address these?

RS: The biggest concerns are privacy and player profiling. Gaming companies must ensure that their AI can comply with applicable privacy legislation in their jurisdiction. The AI algorithm should be reviewable by a human, and we need to know how and where data is being processed and used. Since AI is data-fed, we need to address the temptation to circumvent privacy restrictions.

Operators also need to ensure that any AI is used ethically and that they have appropriate problem gambling safeguards so that their players are not exploited.

They should also be aware of the potential for bias in the way that AI profiles and treats different players. This may be harder to address, but being aware of and monitoring for this risk is the first step.

62   Fall 2023 AI

CGB: Is AI likely to be the future of the gaming industry, or could we see another technology disrupt the space?

RS: AI will almost certainly play a large part in the future of gaming, but that’s not mutually exclusive of another technology further disrupting the space. AI tools promise too many gains and advantages for AI to not be a big part of the future of the gaming industry. AI offers significantly better speed, accuracy, and volume of data processing, and critically it can output insights based on that processed data that are actionable to gaming companies. AI can provide gaming companies with more information about their players in order to improve revenue and retention while better protecting them, and it can provide more information to gaming companies about their platforms to help them optimize how they perform. 63 AI
We need to strike a balance between allowing investment and innovation with sufficiently strong ethics and player protection requirements.

A slow burn Group Head of US Operations Max Bischel tells CGB all about life as an affiliate in Ontario and how the market has developed from an acquisition standpoint.

64   Fall 2023 INTERVIEW

Last summer, when the first earnings report from iGaming Ontario came out, some people hit the panic button. The numbers seemed low compared to American markets like Michigan. Many affiliates who had voiced their frustration about the prohibition on inducement marketing pointed to numbers and declared the market to be middling and the inducement ban a failed experiment.

Now that we are a year in though, numbers are trending up. In the latest iGO report, the group reported over $14bn in wagers, over $500m in revenue, and nearly a million active users.

North Americans have grown accustomed to the splashy entrances in new states, fueled by huge inducement offers. The growth in Ontario flies in the face of that concept.

“I constantly use the phrase the fire builds,” Group Vice President of US Operations Max Bichsel. Compared to markets with a huge splash that leveled off, like New York, Ontario is arguably the preferable option.

“You get the appearance of a massive fire very quickly, but is that sustainable? And you can say that about New York in some capacity. When the market first

opened, huge boom. You can’t maintain that level of inertia and velocity. I think, on the other side of that token, is Ontario, where you have people who love these products.”

In addition to having a growing base of players moving from the gray to regulated markets, Ontario also sustains a massive number of operators (46 at last count) that are all finding opportunities in the province. The online casino segment, in particular, is flourishing, and responsible for $11.6bn of the $14bn in wagers in the most recent quarterly report.

“I think the difference is one, you have two products available in sports betting and casino which is huge,” Bichsel observed. “And the fact that you have no inducements is also important. But in terms of the growth of Ontario, even though the numbers weren’t huge and headline-grabbing like you see in other states or other countries, the fire is building.”

As Bichsel noted, the inducement advertising ban did impact how affiliates like Group approach the market. While it involves some creative ideas, it does fundamentally boil down to helping the customer find what they want.

“The biggest difference is how we attract customers. We’re not as attractive as we are in, say New York, where Caesars can give you an X amount of bonus in comparison to Ontario, where it’s just, ‘Hey, this is what’s available.’ This is the service. This is the operator’s name. These are the sports you’re able to wager on. These are some cool features or functions that they have. Their customer service is awesome. They let you use PayPal. And a consumer can make a decision based on that versus who has the highest reward for depositing or opening a new account.”

GDC Group has learned that users are willing to make concessions in both directions when it comes to utilizing bonus offers and picking the most effective sportsbook or online casino.

“The consumer’s level of pain is directly attributable and correlated to how much they will get rewarded for that pain. And the pain can come in the form of validating your identity, depositing funds, or figuring out how to use the application. A lot of it is for us is definitely some user testing and some trial and error to see who converts the best. But we also have worked with a lot of these operators in other jurisdictions, so we understand who converts at a much higher rate.” 65 INTERVIEW
Even though the numbers weren’t huge and headline-grabbing, the fire is building.

Bichsel compared it to any e-commerce site where you may pay a few extra bucks for your order, but in return, you can have your order sitting at your doorstep with two or three clicks and virtually no friction.

Arguably, because operators are not pressured to invest in the war for the biggest bonuses, they have more money to improve these friction points.

“Operators are getting comfortable,” Bichsel observed. “No one’s jumping headfirst into the market as they would somewhere else, so they’re constantly putting more resources into the market,

building their products better, and making themselves more attractive to customers who want to play casino games responsibly or wager on sports responsibly.

With Ontario now regulated, Bichsel said the group’s list of partners is revised to reflect those operating in the regulated market in the province.

The rest of Canada remains an important part of’s North American portfolio though, and the entire country is visible on the newly launched site, The launch does come amid a little uncertainty about the role of Google and Facebook

for Canadian affiliates. The newly passed Online News Act requires social media sites to compensate outlets for sharing their stories. Meta has already blocked news and Google could be next.

“I think it has potential to impact the affiliate space because there is a huge element of news that is outside of the online gambling business, which is the sports business, which is transcends everything,” Bichsel said.

The impact on sports betting could be substantial, but in the meantime, the prospects for the real revenue driver, online casino, remain sky-high.

66   Fall 2023 INTERVIEW
We’re not as attractive as we are in, say New York.

MAY 7–9, 2024






Be the star of the show and deliver the ultimate gaming and sports betting experiences with our market leading hardware platforms, cabinets and kiosks, and integrated Software Suite solutions. Booth 2640 Put your products in the spotlight Join us at G2E or visit and be amongst the first to experience our exciting new offerings.

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