iGaming Ontario, online gambling and poker regulations are ready, but no good news is coming for players.
Good news and bad news. First the beautiful one? The long road to legal and privatized online gambling in Ontario is coming to an end. On Friday, iGaming Ontario (iGO) announced that the launch date for operators to start offering games is April 4th. It materializes what should have happened already towards the end of 2021. The bad? Many US online grinders fleeing Canada to play online may be limited in their ability to work on dot com sites comfortably.
In addition to the long waits caused by continued delays due to the usual bureaucratic delays, there may be other difficulties for Ontario residents. Canadian law states that gambling must be “conducted and managed” by the provinces. Therefore, while operators like theScore Bet or BetMGM can run their sites, it would be technically illegal for them to run them on their own.
But here’s how the new market will be set up according to the iGO: players in Ontario. The companies will manage gaming sites in the market on behalf of the Province in accordance with these agreements ”.
IGO Executive Director Martha Otton also reported: “Today, most of the games on the Internet are played on non-provincial websites run by the province. “Our new online gaming marketplace will provide consumers with a better choice of entertainment, support the growth of a new legal marketplace, and generate revenue that can help fund programs and services for the benefit of all of us.”
It remains to be seen how much control iGO will have or will have in order for the games to run in accordance with the law.
As I said, this is not a good prospect for poker players. According to the Online Poker Report, Ontario regulations state that poker sites in the province cannot share liquidity with other jurisdictions. Therefore, poker players in Ontario will be fenced off after years of being able to play with others around the world.
Now, Ontario is a very large province – it would be the fifth largest state if it were in the United States, so poker sites should be able to do well there – but 14.5 million residents represent a very limited market as we have seen in some American states. This will result in lower guarantees and less liquidity on the cash tables and in general.
And, as we said in the attack of the piece, even for the many cross-border grinders it is really bad.