BURNS: Ontario’s iGaming Market is Competitive, Safe and Legal

It is imperative that Ontario land-based casino operators have the right framework, tools and level playing field to benefit from online gaming.

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The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) supports the Ontario government’s decision to launch a licensed and regulated iGaming marketplace on April 4 to ensure the people of Ontario have access to safe and legal gaming options, including sports betting, online.

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The CGA also supports the government’s underlying goals for the development of the Ontario iGaming model: To establish a competitive iGaming marketplace that fosters an exciting gaming experience while protecting consumers, keeping Ontarians safe, and generating revenue for the public good.

This initiative provides a unique opportunity for the province to address the longstanding inequity that the “grey” online gaming market has created for those involved in Ontario’s regulated and licensed gaming market.

Additionally, as we move through the COVID closures and grapple with the economic recovery, it is imperative that Ontario land-based casino operators have the right framework, tools, and playing field to benefit from online gaming that will enable The casinos diversify their entertainment options. in order to offer a perfect gaming experience to its customers.

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As significant contributors to Ontario’s economy and workforce for many years, Ontario land-based casino operators support more than 27,000 jobs in Ontario, have invested more than $1.2 billion in the province since 2016, and have close to $4,000 million in capital investments planned between now and 2025.

The CGA believes that the introduction of a regulated iGaming market allows Ontario to reset its priorities for the province’s gaming industry (online, land-based and charity gaming) and foster competition while incentivizing capital investment, creation employment and economic growth.

Ontario is also home to a strong digital technology sector, a highly skilled and multilingual workforce, strong capital markets and a competitive tax climate, all key measures that make the province an attractive location for those working in online gaming. Ontario was home to the first wave of online gaming pioneers, companies like Cryptologic, which launched InterCasino in 1996, and PokerStars (now part of Flutter Entertainment).

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Today we have startups like theScore Bet, a Toronto-based sports betting provider that is currently licensed in four US states; Rivalry, a Toronto-based esports and sports betting platform; and NorthStar Gaming, the newly created gaming company spun out of Torstar Corporation. These companies recognize that Ontario is a great place to do business and have made significant investments in this province to grow their businesses in Ontario.

Take theScore: Has grown its workforce by more than 40% in the last year and plans to bring hundreds more employees into Ontario in the next year alone, with a focus on technology and engineering roles. To accommodate its rapidly growing team and online gaming operation, the company is investing in a new 80,000-square-foot office at the Waterfront Innovation Center in downtown Toronto.

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Dublin-based Flutter Entertainment is the world’s largest publicly traded online gambling company. Flutter’s Ontario-based technology office employs over 550 employees and is one of Flutter’s largest and fastest growing technology offices within the Flutter group of companies, representing an annual investment of $80 million in Ontario.

The province can now use iGaming to encourage businesses to invest in Ontario, as this market is being developed responsibly to ensure it is sustainable. This will also show technology companies that are already located here that they are valued and encourage them to grow their operations.

— Paul Burns is President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association

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