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Gambling Regulation and Licensing in Province of Ontario (Canada) 2021
April 19, 2021
19 min read
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Ontario metropolitan area takes the leading positions in many aspects of Canada. For example, it has one of the largest territory, population and offers the highest speed of economic development. The same goes to the gambling offered within the province. Both local citizens and guests of Ontario are able to choose from a vast range of gambling activities including traditional casinos, as well as online operators and their websites. All you have to do is to define the most attractive and reliable offers, while rejects all shady and unclear opportunities, which have to be avoided no matter what. In this guide, we are going to tell you about the key features of the gambling regulation in the metropolitan area of Ontario, as well as discuss the most important moments, which have to be taken into account during the process of casino choosing.
- Key information about gambling in the province
- Help and support services for the players
Key information about gambling in the province
- Available casinos: one can find both traditional (the wide network of casinos led by the governmental corporation) and online (1 online casino created within the province and the wide range of foreign operators) casinos.
- Key laws in the field of gambling: Gaming Control Act 1992 & Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act 1999
- Regulating authority: Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
- Minimum age of the players: 19 (18 to participate in the lotteries)
- Key types of classic gambling in the province: casinos and gambling centers with slot-machines, bingo halls, official lotteries carried out by the state corporation and charity gambling.
- Applicable taxes: all prizes and winnings are free from taxes (unless you are a professional gambler).
Help and support services for the players
- Here you can find the relevant contact information of the regulating authority in order to file a complaint and get additional information.
- ConnexOntario (Problem Gambling Helpline), Phone:1-866-531-2600 (toll-free). One shall use this service if the gambling became an addiction or a serious problem.
- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – here you can find a lot of interesting and relevant information and practical tools, which can be used to regain control over the gambling process.
- Credit Canada – this is a non-commercial agency that provides free help and support for people having financial problems, including free consultations, special repayment programs, and other services, which help to resolve the issue in the best possible way (Phone 1-800-267-2272).
- Self-Exclusion Program – this shall be used in case if you want to protect yourself or any other person from gambling (shall be used only for the traditional casinos in the province and PlayOLG service).
- Consumer Protection Ontario – this service can be used to get detailed information about the rights of the customer and file all required complaints in case of any violation.
- Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) – this is a non-commercial program that was created and develop in order to provide the youth with the information about responsible gambling and perform preventive activities to solve all gambling-related problems.
- Responsible Gambling Council – this is a website with detailed and useful information, which can be used to help gamblers in trouble.
Ontario Laws in the Field of Gambling
Gaming Control Act 1992 – this is the main law that defines all the main gambling rules in the province. One can use it to understand all available types and forms of gambling in Ontario, as well as to get familiar with the requirements to the gambling companies as well as players.
In particular, sections 10 and 11 of the Gaming Control Act define the process of the gaming assistants and gambling companies registration. Furthermore, section 25 of the Gaming Control Act contains the rule that defines that all gambling companies and gaming assistants are obliged to keep a special identification card issued by the regulating authority.
Please note the following: on the federal level, the field of gambling is regulated and governed by the Criminal Code of Canada; this document defines the rules and the conditions of operation all around the country (one can find more detailed information about the federal gambling rules
this document defines the list of individuals and companies obliged to register and get a license, as well as those, who can work without the mentioned documents. At the same time, this law defines the list of suppliers and assistance, who can work in the field of gambling, as well as general requirements to such companies and individuals. In other words, this document is used to provide more detailed information about several provisions of the Gaming Control Act.
it’s worth noting that every casino is considered a services provider, thus it has to comply with the regulations in the field of consumer rights protection. More detailed information about consumer rights protection in Ontario can be found here. You can also use a step-by-step manual to file a complaint, while the Consumer Beware List will help to find dishonest and unreliable companies in the field of gambling, which was included into the blacklist for numerous violations.
Please note the following: one can also use the Canadian Consumer Handbook in order to get detailed information about the protection of the consumers in Canada.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario(AGCO) – this is an agency included into the structure of the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). All the registration applications and licenses are issued and approved only by the AGCO.
At the same time, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) also acts as a regulating authority. This corporation was created to control and perform all the games of fortune in the traditional casinos, as well as to operate the one and only official online casino in the province. All operators of casinos and gambling websites have to sign an agreement with the OLGC that defines the process of cooperation, possible violations and penalties.
Casinos in the Province: List of the Offers Available for Players
PlayOLG – is the one and only official website of the province, which was created in Ontario to offer a wide range of online gambling games. The website is operated by the OLGC. This website is not really bad and it offers a wide range of gambling apps and games of fortune. However, like all other regional websites in the field of gambling, PlayOLG has one significant disadvantage. The thing is that it is limited by the laws and the requirements implemented in Canada. In other words, such requirements significantly limit the number of available games, which will be less diverse than the list of games offered on foreign web portals. Furthermore, the lack of available games decreases the number of players and affects the size of the prizes.
All these disadvantages decrease the speed of the properly registered online gambling development. While trying to comply with all requirements and provisions, this portal can’t develop in a proper way. At the same time, this is not the biggest limitation for the players and fans of gambling in Ontario because they can have access to many gambling websites and portals all around the world. As a result, if you want to test your gambling skills in the best games offered in different countries, as well as to access the bigger prizes and winning, you may need to pay attention to the foreign online casinos and gambling projects.
Furthermore, such websites offer huge prizes and winnings for players from other countries. The logic is more than simple: the higher is the number of players on the website, the bigger is the prize. One can easily check this rule by playing in one of the trustworthy foreign casinos.
Are these casinos acting in accordance with the local laws and requirements?
Foreign casinos act on the basis of the licenses issued by the foreign authorities (for example, in the United Kingdom or the Isle of Men) or Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. In the majority of cases, the operators of the casinos are also registered in different jurisdictions (in offshore regions or small countries; in some cases, such companies are obliged to create offices and locate equipment in the territory of the licensing jurisdiction).
In accordance with the current legislation, the mentioned companies are not obliged to comply with the laws and acts of Canada. In other words, there are no formal restrictions to use such websites in Canada (more information about the regulation of online casino and its legal status can be found in our detailed article about gambling in Canada. It’s worth noting that the player will not violate any law by playing in foreign casinos and gambling websites.
Choosing the proper gambling website
So, while being in Ontario, one is able to play at PlayOLG, as well as at the wide range of different websites and portals. Only you can decide what you really want. But how to make the right choice and not to make a mistake? No doubt, everything depends on the reputation of the casino and the attractiveness of the offer (the range of games, the minimum bets, the size of the bonus, payout time and so on).
However, we would like to remind you that each and every player is recommended to check a wide range of basic parameters of the casino, e.g. the validity of the license, the type of the account for players deposits, payout rules and the level of the personal information protection. More detailed information about the list of such parameters can be found in our recommendations. After checking such information, one can be sure that the chosen casino is reliable and offers an enjoyable and transparent gaming process.
Making the right choice: If you need some help in the process of casino choosing, you can easily use our detailed rating of the most reliable casinos in Canada offering the vast range of games and applications, while following the rules and offering the fair gaming atmosphere.
Classic Casinos and Gambling Houses
One can find the following types of classic gambling houses and casinos in Ontario:
- Traditional casinos. As we have already indicated above, these casinos can act only under control of the OLGC. The province offers a wide network of traditional casinos. One can visit one of the several dozens of casinos located in different cities and towns all across the province. One can find more detailed information about the casinos and their location on the official website of the OLGC. The majority of casinos in Ontario are operated by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, while the detailed list of them can be easily found in the Properties tab.
- OLG Lotteries. All the lotteries are controlled by the OLGC. The OLGC carries our various lotteries and draws on a permanent basis. One can purchase lottery tickets only with one of the registered retailers.
- Charity gambling. These are independent events or a series of events (lotteries, bingo games, and draws), which can be carried out only to raise money for the charity projects as well as in order to celebrate a religious event. One needs to get a specific license from a regulating authority in order to make the event. Obviously, only non-commercial charity organizations and religious communities can become the organizers of such events. All the revenues generated during such events can be used only to perform various social projects. Charity gambling is offered in more than 30 gaming centers and bingo Halls located all around the province of Ontario. All the venues offering charity gambling are controlled by the OLGC.
One needs to understand that only religious or charity projects are able to get a license in order to carry out lotteries in Ontario (at the same time, all the companies participating in the horse races have to obtain a license). In all other cases, only the OLGC is allowed to act as the organizer of lotteries and draws. It acts on the grounds of the current legislation; thus no additional license is required.
At the same time, a totally different legal entity or an individual (who owns the building or offers equipment and software) can become the actual operator of the gambling venue. Such companies and individuals are considered gaming suppliers and have to be registered with the AGCO.
Types of Registrations for Operators, Suppliers and Assistants
- Operators – commercial gaming site operators in Ontario.
- Gaming-related suppliers – suppliers that provide, install, test, maintain or repair gaming equipment or who provide consulting or similar services directly related to the playing of a lottery scheme or the operation of a gaming site.
- Non-gaming related suppliers – suppliers that provide goods or services that relate to the construction, furnishing, repair, maintenance or business but that, in the opinion of the Registrar, are not directly related to the playing of a lottery scheme or the operation of a gaming site.
- Category 1 Gaming Assistants – employees who exercise a significant level of decision-making authority or who have significant supervisory or training responsibility.
- Category 2 Gaming Assistants – employees who do not exercise a significant level of decision-making authority or have significant supervisory or training responsibilities.
You can read more about here: Ontario Regulation 78/12.
Where to check validity and legal status of the operators and casinos
All the licenses issued by the AGCO can be found using the special iAGCO service. In addition, the OLGC offers a detailed list with the information about legal casinos, bingo halls, and gaming centers.
Please note the following: one can also find a wide range of slot-machines located in bars and restaurants (in other words, they are not installed in casinos and gambling venues). The most popular of them are slot-machines offered by GotSkill? Company (you have definitely seen them if you live in Ontario).
This type of gambling is not licensed and there’s no need to register it. Furthermore, the authorities of Ontario tried to limit the activity of such companies, but the representatives of the GotSkill? company managed to prove that their games are based only on the skills of their players. It’s worth noting that such games offer lower bets and smaller prizes in comparison with the casino.
At the same time, one needs to remember that the operation of such slot-machine is not regulated by the gambling laws of Ontario, as well as any other laws in the field of gambling. In other words, there are no strict requirements to the software of such slot-machines, proper testing procedures and all other rules, which are applied to other companies working in the field of gambling all around the world.
Deposits and Payouts in Online Casinos
Online casinos in Ontario offer the very same transaction processing rules as all other venues in Canada.
Key Facts about the Province.
- Capital: Ottawa (the capital of Canada). The largest city is Toronto (it’s also the largest city in Canada).
- The date of annexation to Canada: July 1, 1867 (from the moment of the Dominion of Canada creation).
- The population of the province: 13,448,494 people (according to the official information published in 2016). Ontario is considered the largest and the most inhabited region of Canada having more than 38% of the total population of the country. The most inhabited part of the province is the Golden Horseshoe metropolitan area. According to the different sources it covers around 55% of the Ontario population as well as 21% of the overall Canada population.
- Climate in the province: there are different climatic conditions in the country; however, there are three main types of them: cold subarctic climate in the north of the country (the temperature can easily go below -40°C during the winter); humid continental climate with warm summer in the south and south-east of the country (20-25°C during the summer and -8-15°C during the winter); and humid continental climate with hot summers in the southern regions of the country bordering with Michigan state near Erie lake (30°C during the summer and from 0 to -7°C during the winter).
The most interesting places to visit:
- 6 national parks of Canada: Bruce Peninsula National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Point Pelee National Park, Pukaskwa National Park, Rouge National Urban Park, Thousand Islands National Park.
- More than 100 parks in the provinces of the country.
- Georgian Bay (30 000 islands) – the largest freshwater archipelago in the world.
- Niagara escarpment – the real fans of hiking and hill-climbing are able to enjoy the astonishing views of Niagara Waterfall and enjoy an amazing adventure through the local cliffs and caves.
- The real fans of the most extreme adventures will like the following options: Canada’s Wonderland (an amusement park with a wide range of attractions and crazy rides).
- EdgeWalk – enjoy walking on the frame of a tall tower having 356 meters (1168 feet or 116 levels in height) without using your hands and arms.
- And many other astonishing places from people with different interests and passions: fans of the art, shoppers, fishermen, and hunters. Each and every of them will find something truly interesting and unique.
- You can find even more interesting places to discover astonishing Ontario by visiting the OntarioTravel.net or using the Amazing Places map.
Transportation in the province:
- Ontario offers all modern types of transportation: one can easily reach as all the regions of Canada, as well as all other countries.
- By air: the largest airport in the region is Lester B. Pearson International Airport is the most popular airport among travelers from all around the world. However, this is the most convenient option for those planning a trip in the southern part of the province. If you are planning to discover the northern part of Ontario, it’s highly recommended using the Thunder Bay International Airport, while the eastern part of Ontario and the Ottawa river-valley are served by the McDonald-Cartier International Airport. The full list of the local airports can be found here.
- By land and by water: one can use the convenient railroad, regional buses, comfortable taxis, and even ferries. More information about the available travel options in Ontario can be found here.
- Those traveling by their own car can use special services offered in Ontario.
After considering all the information above, it becomes pretty clear that there’s a wide range of gambling opportunities in Ontario. One can enjoy one of the numerous online gambling websites 24/7, being able to choose as the official website of the local authorities, as well as websites of foreign suppliers. At the same time, the province offers traditional gambling and classic casinos: one can easily go to one of casinos or gambling halls in order to forget about the gadgets and play in a totally different atmosphere. Never forget the fact that the enjoyable gaming process starts from the choosing of a reliable casino. Be wise and play responsibly.
About the author
James Taylor is the chief editor of CasinoNow Canada Portal. This is the professional name of our bilingual go-to guy who adds value to all our work. He has been working as editor-in-chief at CasionNow Canada since 2018. Previously, he studied at the University of Quebec in Montreal and worked in market research companies.