Operators are preparing for Ontario’s online gambling market to open on Monday

Operators have high hopes for launching iGaming Ontario, as Canada’s largest province has become the first legal authority to place bets on the private online gambling market.

From Monday, Ontario people will be able to place bets on casino games, sporting events and other gambling activities through the online websites and smartphone apps of registered operators to operate in a provincially controlled market.

As of Friday, 25 operators have registered with iGaming Ontario.

Not all sites will be launched immediately, and the number of participating operators is expected to increase, according to the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission, which regulates the industry. Those who plan to place bets are promoting ads to reach potential users before launch.

Sports betting site PointsBet Canada has stepped up its marketing campaign ahead of the market opening at midnight on Monday.

Carling Canada and other Canadian teams are partnering with Pointset, and the company is working with Trailer Park Boys on a series of online videos and commercials – a significant choice, as Ontario regulators do not allow advertising with celebrities who are early visitors to the minor Canuck comedy group site in Toronto. Ready to host private VIP launch party.

Patrick Eichner, a spokesman for PointsBet, said the launch in Ontario was a significant one for the company, which has already launched online legal gambling in several US states.

“For all intents and purposes, you are launching a country,” he said. “Ontario is going to work like both the Canadian Sports Betting Foundation and Mecca, so you have to provide that first idea and be tough outside the door.”

Online gambling already exists in Ontario, mostly operated outside of Canada in the form of gray market websites, and also through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which launched its Proline + Sportsbook last summer after the federal government legalized single-event sports betting.

The province says its regulated online gambling market will help “protect consumers and provide choice”. There are also reasons for potentially lucrative revenue from the growing market, although the province has not yet provided a statistic for expected revenue.

Pointsbet Canada has a Canadian team of about 50 people, Aichner said.

Richard Schwartz, CEO of Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers, said the company has hired 50 people in Toronto for its Ontario operations. The launch is also important for his company, as it is North America’s largest authority to legitimize online casinos.

The online casino and sports betting site ran ads on Canadian TV during the Winter Olympics with former TSN anchor Dan O’Toole to introduce the brand to the local customer base, which Schwartz noted never operated under the country’s pre-control.

“I think it put us on the map in Ontario, which was important to us, because … we started without any awareness,” he said.

Canadian brand TheScore Bet has also launched online commercials, featuring acclaimed actors from the television show Carb Your Intuition and Entourage. The company is planning a weekend launch party for fans in Toronto from Saturday to Monday night.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvi said the government did not include any projected revenue from iGaming Ontario in its revenue forecast, but more information could be found when the province tabulates its annual budget, expected sometime this month. Some other source markets have estimated revenue as high as $ 800 million in the first year.

But there are concerns from land-based casino operators and unions who fear the new online marketplace could affect revenue and jobs at their venue if they are taxed at a high rate and lose customers.

A report prepared by HLT Advisory for Great Canadian Gaming, the province’s largest casino operator, estimates that thousands of jobs will be lost and $ 2.8 billion in revenue will be lost to land-based casinos in the five years since the online market opened.

These results have raised some fears from casino owners, unions and opposition politicians who grilled government politicians into pre-budget consultations about their plans to compensate for potential damage to casinos that were hit during the epidemic.

Bethellenfalvi spokeswoman Emily Hogevin said in a statement that the iGaming Framework would “complement the land-based gaming activity, not interrupt it, and provide cross-promotions for land-based gaming operators to diversify their offers and create new opportunities between online and land-based.” Sites. “

The province is also taking steps to offset the potential damage from gambling

The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission has set loss-reduction standards for operators, including requirements for sites to monitor players for “feeling hurt.” Operators must display “responsible gambling messages”, access to 24-hour support resources and self-exclusion options. There are also rules that target minors or prohibit misleading ads.

Nigel Turner, an independent scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health who has studied gambling for decades, says there are “positive and negative aspects” to legalizing online gambling.

As availability increases, more people are likely to become addicted to gambling-like behavior, he said. At the same time, people already gamble online and legalize it to allow more checks and balances.

After the post-market launch, Turner said he would look at helpline numbers for calls and treatment for people and how websites feature health care information.

This report was first published in the Canadian Press on April 3, 2022.

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