Ontario’s new and regulated iGaming market is finally here, however, there are still some growing concerns expressed by industry leaders and gambling addiction experts. Land-based gaming operators are worried that their activities would be affected by the introduction of immense online gaming variety while addiction experts are concerned about the potential increase in problem gaming disorders.
One of the main reasons for the launch of the new regime is to draw away Ontarians from offshore and illegal gaming websites, as according to research they spent CA$500 million every year on such websites. This way, the province will be able to keep part of the revenue within its borders and provide a safe and regulated gambling environment for local bettors.
Problems to be Resolved
For instance, brick-and-mortar casino operator Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is concerned about its activities due to the implications of the new iGaming market. CEO of the company Tony Rodio commented that it was unfair that iGaming operators are taxed at only 20% of their income when land-based ones are taxed at 55%. And he believes that many gamblers will migrate into the online gaming scene.
Mr. Rodio further explained that with regulation and lower tax rates the recently launched online operators can pour millions into marketing as a way of attracting larger crowds from the land-based industry. He is also not fond of the idea of having an open market, in his words, the government should have taken the time to meet with operators and discuss terms.
Gambling addiction experts are also on high alert with the introduction of the new iGaming regime. Chanel Larche, an associate researcher with the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming at the University of Gibraltar, indicated that the increase in gambling options should be supported by an equal increase in resources to help bettors who experience problem gambling.
In light of this, the leading U.S. gambling company FanDuel, which recently gained entry into the Ontario market, revealed that it has been in collaboration with the Responsible Gambling Council. Dale Hooper, FanDuel Canada’s general manager said that the company is conducting research and is investing in partnerships to provide the required tools to help protect local gamblers from such unwanted conditions.
Nigel Turner, a gambling addictions expert at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has also noted that Ontarians need more information on problem gambling. According to him, every time when the availability of gambling is increased, there is a potential for more people to develop conditions and problems associated with addictive behavior.
Recently, PlayCanada and its team of gambling experts have given their opinion on the new Ontario market and its future. According to the website, the province will also witness the same trends that were noticed in other jurisdictions where online gaming and mobile sports betting are regulated. Meaning that the iGaming one is set to massively outperform the sports betting one in terms of revenue and handle.
Source: Cheese, Tyler “Ontario’s online gaming market launches, but some insiders and experts have concerns”, CBC, April 4, 2022