Ontario Auditor-General Scrutinises Local iGaming Model

Ontario Auditor-General image
Ontario Auditor-General. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Ontario Auditor-General has raised red flags regarding the legalities of the provinces new iGaming model.

Bonnie Lysyk, the Ontario Auditor-General, has provided input on the province’s expected new iGaming and sports betting model.  On Wednesday, Lysyk issued a report that dissected the legalities of the new iGaming model, which is currently on course for launch in early 2022.  At this stage, the idea is to have the new model fully operational before the next Super Bowl.

According to Paul Burns, the President of the Canadian Gaming Association, the new private gaming operator market should become active during the initial months of 2022. Burns also claimed that iGaming Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are working hard to ensure no glitches interfere with the imminent launch.

Multiple Concerns Raised

In her 15-pages report, Bonnie Lysyk examined the legality of the province’s gaming regime in relation to the Criminal Code, the online gaming governance structure, and the fairness and integrity of digital wagering in the province. The Auditor-General outlined several issues and advised the provincial government to review these before officially deregulating the market.

Lysyk’s first recommendation was to address the legal risks relating to the suggested construct of online gaming in the province. The report advised the government to take appropriate steps to guarantee compliance with the Criminal Code before the launch.

Secondly, the provincial government should assess the governance and regulatory risk associated with the new model. Lysyk suggested that the responsibilities of iGaming Ontario be withdrawn. Furthermore, should the model of iGaming Ontario meet the conduct requirements, it should transfer the reporting relationship.

Lysyk also expressed worry about the obligations the government has bestowed on private operators. She elaborated that the new iGaming model’s key responsibilities of maintaining integrity and fairness have been put in the hands of the private sector. This includes testing internet gambling systems, game design, setting payouts, and fixing the odds.

Lastly, the Auditor-General raised concerns about the governance structure of iGaming Ontario and how this regulator would guarantee the integrity and fairness of the games. The province responded that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has already established standards for the iGaming market to safeguard integrity. The province also advised that an independent lab would test and certify all online products.

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