The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has updated its Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, bringing an end to its transition period for unregulated operators and suppliers, as well as amending standards for live dealer games.
Following the completion of industry-wide consultations, the commission’s update notes that these changes will support the province’s goal of “creating a safer, competitive and well-regulated igaming market for the people of Ontario”.
AGCO ends transition period for unregulated operators
The AGCO’s Standard 1.22 brings an end to the transition period for the unregulated igaming operators and suppliers, meaning they must halt their operations in the unregulated market “to avoid jeopardizing their eligibility for registration”.
Before the Ontario igaming market went live earlier this year on April 4, the commission opened a process to allow operators and suppliers in the unregulated market to move into the regulated market ahead of its launch, offering a safe place for existing customers in the province to play.
Operators must secure a registration by the AGCO and execute an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO) before operating legally in the market. The commission has stated it has provided sufficient time for operators and suppliers “to join the regulated market in a business-like and seamless fashion”.
The AGCO added that operators and suppliers have until October 31, 2022, to comply with Standard 1.22. Appropriate action will be taken against those that don’t meet the standard once it comes into force, including “risk having their application for registration refused”.
The new Standard 1.22 reads:
1.22 Operators and gaming-related suppliers must cease all unregulated activities if, to carry out those same activities in iGaming Ontario’s regulated online lottery scheme, it would require registration under the GCA.
Operators and gaming-related suppliers shall not enter into any agreements or arrangements with any unregistered person who is providing the operator or gaming-related supplier with any goods or services if, to provide those goods and services in iGaming Ontario’s regulated online lottery scheme, it would require registration under the GCA.
Amended standards for live dealer games
The AGCO is also amending its standards for operators and suppliers who offer live dealer games in response to their growing popularity in the province.
The commission added that the amendments are “necessary to address the potential risks related to the use of physical gaming equipment (including among others, roulette wheels and playing cards) and the risks related to the use of live presenters”.
The following amended standards will come into effect on October 31, 2022:
4.09 Gaming systems and gaming supplies shall be provided, installed, configured, maintained, repaired, stored, and operated in a way that ensures the integrity, safety and security of the gaming supplies and systems. (Also applicable to Gaming-Related Suppliers).
4.35 Access to live dealer gaming supplies shall be restricted to individuals with a business need. (Also applicable to Gaming-Related Suppliers).
Requirements – At a minimum:
- Access privileges are granted, modified, and revoked based on employment status and job requirements and all activities associated with these actions logged.
- Access privileges are independently reviewed and confirmed on a periodic basis.
4.36 Operators must have controls in place to ensure live dealer game presenters do not compromise the integrity of a game.
Amended Standard 4.08 will come into effect on April 4, 2023, giving operators and suppliers enough time to get their equipment certified:
4.08 All igaming games, random number generators and components of igaming systems that accept, process, determine outcome of, display, and log details about player bets, including any subsequent modifications, must either be approved by the Registrar or certified by an independent testing laboratory registered by the Registrar, as per the AGCO’s ITL Certification Policy, prior to being provided for any gaming site.
Further certification requirement guidance for live dealer games will be provided by the AGCO in the coming weeks via an updated ITL Certification Policy.