Ontario Sports Betting Regulators To End Gray-Market Grace Period

Halloween presents a scary ontario Sports betting appointment for remaining gray market operators.

That Ontario Alcohol and Gambling Commission announced Tuesday it updates the Internet Gambling Registrar Standards lock in 31 Oct as the end date for the transition period for non-regulated operators. Commercial online ON sports betting market opened 4. April and now has more than 20 sports betting

“A key objective of AGCO was to bring iGaming operators and gaming providers into Ontario’s regulated market as quickly and seamlessly as possible,” the press release reads. “Since launching on April 4th, AGCO has provided a reasonable time for these operators and gaming operators to enter the regulated market in a business-like and seamless manner.”

Ontario means business?

With their goal of integrating previous gray market operators, Ontario regulators wanted to create little friction to support the migration of existing customers. This should help achieve one of the Canadian Parliament‘s main goal to relocate millions of black and gray market bets.

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AGCO assumes that a sufficient number of gray market companies have made the switch. Big sportsbooks like Bet365, Betway, sports interaction and Climax launched or about to go live after servicing the unregulated market.

Sportsbooks are still living in the unregulated Ontario market after October 31st and risk jeopardizing their future registration opportunities.

“As with any case of non-compliance, AGCO will take appropriate regulatory action against any registrant who fails to comply with this standard (once it becomes effective),” the AGCO statement said. “For those registered operators who have yet to transition from the unregulated market to the regulated market after the standard’s effective date, the registrant must cease unregulated activities in Ontario until the registrant has entered the regulated market.”

AGCO has not shied away from fining operators who violate advertising restrictions.

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Ontario sportsbook ready

New operators on the market, like US Market leader in sports betting fan duel and DraftKings, knew the province was going to be an uphill battle for market share against sportsbooks migrating from the gray market. The changing operators could remain active while maintaining existing customer databases.

“Grey market operators have been given over a year to submit applications for registration and transition into Ontario’s regulated market. We think the transition period is very generous, but it’s time for it to end,” he said Paul BurnsPresident and CEO of Canadian Gaming Association

“We know that AGCO and iGO continue to work to support many non-grey entrants who are working diligently to enter as there are many more applicants looking to join the Ontario iGaming market, but it is about time to put an end to the gray in Ontario.”

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Did the ON transition period help?

The CGA appreciated the handling of sports betting in Canada 2020 was $15 billion; but only estimated 3% was done legally. After months of waiting, iGaming Ontario released its first quarterly revenue report in August.

Online gaming operators took C$4.1 billion on bets in the second quarter of 2022. The handle, which includes iGaming and sports betting, generates C$162 million in sales.

While the market is still developing, the numbers do not align well with market expectations. However, the numbers were missing from some gray market operators still in the transition process, including Sports Interaction and Betway. These operators will help underpin the next revenue report.

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