Global sports betting and gaming entertainment group Entain has announced that its non-profit Foundation will fund research into consumer practices, preferences and behaviors in Ontario, Canada as regulators prepare to legalize gaming and sports betting for the first time.
The research will be conducted by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), a Toronto based non-profit organization and one of the world’s leading advisors on responsible gambling practices.
The Canadian federal government introduced a bill at the end of last year which could pave the way for legalization of single-event sports betting, with licenses for online operators. Entain has already expressed interest in applying for a license in Ontario if, and when, they are available.
The research project is led by the Responsible Gambling Council’s RG Plus, a global consultation service that offers research and strategic consultation services. It aims to draw on consumer insights in Canada and experiences across other international jurisdictions to help regulators make evidence-based recommendations that balance the mandates of online operators with the identifying behaviors and risk factors for consumers.
International experience shows a vast majority of people enjoy sports betting and gaming with no issues, but regulation helps to protect those potentially at risk.
Martin Lycka, Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs & Responsible Gambling at Entain said: “We know from similar research in many markets in which we operate, including the United States, that regulators value research which supports an evidence-based approach to decision-making and effective regulation from a wide range of other international jurisdictions.
Entain, which operates across five continents and over 20 countries, has unparalleled experience with different regulatory approaches taken around the world in the past 15 years.“
The research will focus on a sample of approximately 4,000 adult bettors and gamers (18+ years old), providing the most comprehensive and up to date evidence into responsible online sports betting and gaming needs and interests. The work will also review other key international jurisdictions to assess regulatory approaches, using informant interviews to identify effective responsible betting and gaming practices.
Shelley White, CEO of RGC, commented: “As a global leader in responsible gambling, RGC is committed to working with regulators, operators and the public to establish the development and implementation of a robust responsible gambling culture. RGC’s work with Entain will contribute to vital advancements in consumer safeguards.”
Research work is expected to begin shortly with the full report due later in the year. Assuming the regulatory process continues, Ontario is expected to become the first Canadian province to introduce online gambling, with initial licenses expected to be granted in 2022.