Ontario’s Casino Laws: Find Clarity and Helpful Insights

Ontario’s Casino Laws: Find Clarity and Helpful Insights

The laws and regulations around online gambling in Ontario have undergone a lot of change over the past few years. If you gambled using an online casino in Ontario before April 2022, it was part of an unregulated market, just like what’s currently used in other Canadian provinces.

But in April 2022, Ontario became the first province to introduce gambling laws that allowed it to create a fully regulated iGaming market that features private operators. This move shook up the Canadian gambling industry, as the Ontario regulations changed the way people in the province bet online for good. Learn more below

Ontario's Online Gambling Evolution: Don't Miss Out on the Big Shifts

Gambling in Canada can be traced back to the early 1800s. At that time, most gambling in the country took place in Montreal, which was a popular trading post for fur traders. It led to about half a dozen land-based casinos popping up by the end of the 1800s. But at around the same time, the Canadian Criminal Code was created to ban gambling in the country.

This didn’t deter people from gambling, though, as the betting craze swept across Canada throughout the 1900s. It started with the introduction of the country’s first government-run lottery in 1910, and by 1970, gaming and casino licences were unveiled in a move that led to widespread support for the legalization of gambling. The Canadian Parliament eventually passed Bill C-46, allowing individual provinces to decide how to regulate gambling.

Since then, many Canadian provinces have failed to innovate with their gambling laws. They’ve permitted people to gamble in a grey market that doesn’t have strict gambling laws forbidding offshore casinos. Ontario is the lone province that chose to piece together a regulated iGaming market, and it was launched on April 4, 2022. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for regulating it, and every reputable Ontario casino must register to remain within the limits of Ontario gambling laws.

How Are Ontarian Players Affected by Gambling Laws?

Before the Government of Ontario chose to come up with Ontario regulations and create a regulated iGaming market, about 70% of online gambling in the province took place through unregulated online casinos. Today, almost 90% of online gambling occurs on Ontario casino sites registered with the AGCO. Here are several reasons why Ontarian players have come to appreciate local gambling laws.

Player safety

Before the creation of the regulated iGaming market, many Ontarian players had no choice but to gamble online through unlicensed casino operators. It impacted player safety.

Now that Ontario casino operators must be licensed through the AGCO, player safety has improved. The minimum age for those wishing to gamble online through Ontario casino operators is 19 years old.

The AGCO keeps players safe by:

  • Ensuring Ontario casinos adhere to privacy and data protection laws.
  • Registering third-party auditing firms to test the software used by Ontario online casinos.
  • Pushing Ontario casino operators to respond to inquiries and complaints from players.

Convenience and accessibility

The regulated iGaming market has done more than protect player safety. It has also offered people so many options. Nearly 50 licensed casinos in Ontario currently exist.

Responsible advertising and promotions

The AGCO has worked hard to promote responsible gambling. The organization has created standards for locals whom wish to advertise their products and services. Ontario iGaming has put together a list of casinos that are fully regulated and approved by the AGCO.

These standards make it illegal to:

  • Target ads to underage players, self-excluded players, and at-risk players.
  • Create ads containing misinformation to mislead players.
  • Produce ads suggesting players can claim “free” bonuses.

The AGCO even prohibits Ontario gambling sites from featuring celebrities in ads. While Ontario casinos are allowed to advertise and market within the province, they will need to follow the AGCO’s guidelines.

Access to casinos promoting responsible gambling

In the past, not every Ontario casino was concerned about promoting responsible gambling. Many offshore casinos didn’t worry about how responsible players were. The AGCO has emphasized the importance of responsible gambling and encouraged registered online casinos to do the same.

This means you aren’t required to be citizens of the province to play casino games through casinos in Ontario. You do, however, need to be located in Ontario while playing these games.

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Stay Critical: Why You Can't Ignore These Drawbacks

For the most part, Ontario has served as a great example for the rest of the Canadian gambling industry. There have, however, been a couple of big drawbacks to the Ontario regulations on gambling.

One common complaint Ontarians have had about the regulated iGaming market is that it has seemingly normalized online gambling in a short period of time. They’ve argued the AGCO should have made a stronger push to promote responsible gambling early on.

Some Ontarian players have also been forced to part ways with their favourite Ontario casinos because they chose not to register with the AGCO. While they have plenty of other options, this has still been a point of contention.

The promotion of responsible gambling has been top of mind with the regulation of gambling laws for this province. The Responsible Gambling Council has created an accreditation program called RG Check that ensures casinos in Ontario take it seriously.

Ontarian Gamblers Gain Prime Access to Casino Games

Regulating the iGaming market has given Ontarians more choices than ever before when it comes to betting. Check out a few ways they can gamble nowadays.

Online casinos

Ontarian players don’t have any shortage of options when searching for regulated online casinos. Dozens of Ontario casino operators have registered with the AGCO. Ontarians can sign up for accounts to play games like:

Sports betting

Ontarians can legally participate in online sports betting. The federal government in Canada passed Bill C-218, better known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, in June 2021. It allowed Canadians to place single-game sports wagers.

Land-based casinos

Ontario’s first land-based casino Casino Windsor, now known as Caesars Windsor, opened in May 1994. Many land-based casinos have opened in Ontario since then, such as:

  • Elements Casino Mohawk
  • Casino Niagara
  • Casino Rama Resort

Local and online lotteries

As if online casinos, sports betting, and land-based casinos weren’t enough, Ontario is also home to many local and online lotteries. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation oversees them.

Ontarians Know How to Have a Good Time

Ontario’s regulated iGaming market has only been around for two years now, but it has already helped transform the Canadian gambling industry. Ontarians have shown the rest of the country that a regulated iGaming market can work without affecting their ability to have fun. Interested in discovering more about the Canadian gambling industry? Read our other blog articles.

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