Ontario Gambling Industry Evolution: Tougher Rules for Online Casinos and the Great Threat for Land-Based Gaming
For now and pronto, promotional advertising is prohibited for all iGaming projects because of the brand new Sports Betting Regulations of Ontario province. It’s just a short time span since the launch of Ontario’s legit sports betting on the Web and permitted commercial online gambling. And the most populous administrative division of Canada has already banned shrill advertising. That kind of decision was made to avoid a flood of marketing promos. Due to the example of the US, Ontario’s regulators decided to prevent such a toxic presence where web casinos and online sportsbooks take up the whole infosphere targeting new potential gamers.
The Parliament of Canada legalized single-game sports betting a year ago. Straight after this event, the Legislative Assembly of the province that borders the U.S. issued an ordinance that authorizes sportsbooks on the Web and internet casinos, which offer different games of chance, including video slots.
After a period of only one month of iGaming being in a legal status due to the Ontario’s lawmakers, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of the province (AGCO) restricted gambling promotions through which the iGaming companies draw newbies. Nonetheless, lucrative bonus codes, signup deposits and free spins will be available for the gamers from Ontario. The difference is that the offers and advertisements with this stuff will be placed only directly on the websites of the casinos and betting platforms.
Nevertheless, starting on the fourth of April 2022, Ontario is the first province all over Canada where you can gamble and bet using commercial websites a hundred percent lawfully. And such great changes raise fears of some players in the market.
Great Canadian Worries
One of the biggest players in the gambling market in Canada is Great Canadian Gaming (GCG). It is a company that represents itself in such spheres as hospitality, entertainment, and, obviously, gaming. GCG comes as a part of the S&P/TSX Composite Index and it is also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). GCG operates twenty-five different entertainment properties all over Canada, from restaurants and hotels to horse race tracks, casinos and different gaming centers on a small scale.
There are twenty-eight land-based casinos in Ontario, and fourteen of them are run by the Great Canadian Gaming company. All these gambling facilities raised concerns about the legalization of online sports betting and gambling. They beware that the result of such legal movements will be a dramatic drop in the sphere of land-based gambling. GCG states that a mass transition of players to the internet platforms is inevitable in such circumstances.
Great Canadian Gaming is trying its best to discredit the decision of Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission to legislate online gambling. It has even initiated research on the iGaming financial implications of such a decision. The company has warned the authorities of Ontario that they should be ready for a US$432 million (CA$550 million) tax money loss from land-based gambling facilities. The Great Canadian Gaming company also states that online gambling can become the main reason for job cuts for every fourth employee in the retail gaming sphere.
The biggest concerns of GCG are shared by the general trade union and the largest private-sector union in Canada – Unifor. They are concerned about the fact that on iGaming revenue, Ontario province levies only twenty percent taxes while land-based casinos are taxed fifty-five percent. But they are silent about the fact that сasinos are not the only kind of landed gambling facilities. Supported by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Unifor has even written to Doug Downey, Ontario Attorney General, to voice its fear about the situation.
The counterparty of the discussion about the liberalization of Ontario’s iGaming sphere lies in the fact that online gambling is not a new thing. It stands for the fact that gamers of the province have already been playing on the Web for years. Due to their statements licensing of online gaming providers and software developers is the best way to liquidate the grey market in the sphere of gambling and get some fresh lavish tax revenue. It is clear that there is no threat to the landed casinos. The appearance of legal online gambling facilities will attract people who already use online sportsbooks and web casinos in the offshore market. People that used to choose usual land-based casinos will still prefer them to online gambling because the experiences and lifestyles are too different for these two types of gaming.