Ontario iGaming Laws and Regulations
Do you wonder whether gambling is legal in Ontario? Or whether there are online gambling facilities 🎰 ? Do you perhaps wish to learn more about the regulation of sports betting in Ontario? How about the best land-based casinos or online casinos in Ontario? Read this Ontario Gambling Guide to find the latest news and answers to all these questions and the best legal online casinos.
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Ontario Legal Gambling: Latest Update 2021
In August 2021, the Canadian government gave the latest update, which was major news for the betting market. The federal government finally legalized single-game betting, and this gave way for the provinces to allow local single-game wagering and online sports betting. Although the bettors could place parlay bets even before, the big announcement opened new gaming possibilities.
Lawmakers passed the C-218 on June 22, allowing the provinces to regulate single-game betting. But, with the recent update, the Ontario regulators are optimistic that the market will be opened end of 2021. Already, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation says that it is extending its offerings and will add its sports betting regulations to the existing internet gaming standards. The target date to do this and open the platform to commercial operators is December 2021.
With the recent legal developments, United States operators are moving fast into the Canadian market. And Ontario seems to be their favourite landing. You can expect an influx of sports betting sites, but that will be when the licensing fees, regulations, and taxes are figured out. The Canadian framework will likely be like that of the United States. This will ease the transition of the many sportsbooks in North America to enter Ontario's betting market.
As we wait for the mobile single betting layout to be complete, some single-game sports betting options are available. Ontario already has casinos running parlay sports betting that are now starting to launch single-game sports betting. You could also access some single online sports betting on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's PROLINE and websites, which the government runs.
Gambling in Ontario
Ontario is the undisputed flagship for sports betting providers seeking to get into the Canadian market. The province is attractive for the business with an estimated 14.8 million population and limited gaming facilities. Gambling is legal in Ontario going by the federal Criminal Code and the provincial gambling regulations. Gambling over the internet has been in a grey area until recently when legislation updates legalized it.
All gaming operations like the slot facilities in casinos, race tracks, lottery games and charity casinos are legally available in Ontario. They are certified by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Online Gambling in Ontario
As preparations for the launch of legal gambling in Ontario are in their final leg, here's everything you need to know about it.
Is online gambling legal in Ontario?
As of now, online casino gambling is possible but legally in a grey area in Ontario. But, this is likely to change soon, especially with the legalization of single-game betting that should introduce online sports betting. Ontario will be laying a regulatory framework for each of these platforms. After that, there's likely to be an online casino gaming and mobile sports betting influx in the province.
Despite the slight hiccup, Canadians can still legally and safely play online gambling games from legal offshore casinos. The winnings you earn from online gaming are not taxable unless your gambling is considered a source of livelihood.
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Who Regulates Sports Betting in Ontario?
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regulates all internet-based events and sports betting in Ontario. The agency is currently setting up the structure for the upcoming commercial rollout of online gaming in Ontario. The structure will be made up of regulatory guidelines, called the Registrar's Standards for Internet Gaming. They should come into force upon the launch of the iGaming Ontario towards the end of the year 2021.
In addition, the Ontario government recently launched an AGCO subsidiary called iGaming Ontario and this body is set to come up with rules to guide online casino games in terms of their design and running. The parent organization, AGCO, is also set to make guidelines to cover essential aspects, including the guidance on the acceptable advertising practices, the protocols for reporting chary betting patterns and the function of independent integrity monitoring of industry practices for risk management.
Another body, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), is in charge of games licensing and the management of several eBingo websites. The agency also administers lotteries, and Ontario has one of North America's lottery networks.
Current Gambling Laws in Ontario
Canada takes an even-handed approach to gambling by keeping the laws flexible but stringent to ensure the public's welfare at all times. It has established consumer protection guidelines at the federal and provincial levels and as of now, these rules regulate gambling. In Ontario, the law states that providers of gambling products must comply with the Ontario Consumer Protection Act that exists to protect consumers' fundamental rights and to prevent unfair business practices.
Regarding marketing and advertising, the providers must comply with the OLG's marketing and advertising guidelines, which must also be in tandem with the AGCO guidelines. Any unregulated but relevant products must also comply with the general legislation for unregulated services in Canada like the federal Competition Act and provincial consumer protection laws stipulated in Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
Ontario Gambling TAX and Duties
Regarding duties and tax, the Ontario government considers private corporations that provide gaming products mere suppliers of gambling services and products. They are not subject to special industry-specific levies and taxes. The companies are only mandated to comply with the applicable provincial and federal income tax laws because there are no separate tax provisions for companies in the gambling industry.
So far, the gambling industry has worked with generalized rules, but as new regulations are implemented and provisions made for online gambling, the laws and regulations are becoming more specific to the gambling industry. For example, iGaming Ontario is now placing a ban on autoplay, placing the minimum spin speed at 2.5 seconds for slots.
The new rule ensures that the players consciously commit to a game by releasing and then pressing on the ‘start' button or other equivalent action. Doing this promotes responsible gaming and prevents casinos from taking advantage of the players.
Will There Be Taxes on Online Gambling in Ontario?
As mentioned, only professional gamblers, those who make a living out of gambling, are liable to pay tax, according to the Canadian Revenue Agency. If you only play for pleasure, you don't need to pay any income tax on your winnings regardless of the game or contest.
Persons running a gambling operation as a business venture can deduct their expenses and losses from their income just like persons in other forms of self-employment do. They only need to pay tax on their net gains. Since the law does not distinguish between offline and online gambling, you could assume that the gambling rules apply to both.
Top Ontario Land-based Casinos
Ontario has more land-based casinos than other provinces across Canada. But, Ontario's top-rated and most popular casinos are the following:
1. Fallsview Casino Resort
The spectacular Fallsview Casino Resort offers an outstanding view of Niagara Falls. It is the largest casino in Canada at 200,000 square feet and is home to over 100 gaming tables and 3000 slot machines.
Fallsview Casino Resort also has 374 deluxe rooms with special facilities like a theatre, spa, and fitness center.
2. Casino Niagara
It is one of the biggest casinos in Ontario, covering a whopping 95,000 square feet. The casino has 30 gaming tables and more than 1300 slot machines. The casino also has a special poker room with two poker tables commonly used to host poker tournaments like the Texas Hold'Em.
Casino Niagara is a prestigious casino and has four restaurants linked to it.
3. Caesars Windsor
The Caesars Windsor casino hosts players from both the United States and Canada.
Along with an excellent location, the casino offers exceptional amenities, free parking and a wide variety of table and slot games on the gaming floor. There's also a dedicated poker room.
4. Casino Rama
The Casino Rama is a combination of a casino, hotel and other facilities located on the reserve land of the Rama First Nation. It is First Nation's only commercial rather than charity casino in Ontario.
Casino Rama offers a wide selection of table games and slot machines, featuring roulette, baccarat, craps, blackjack and poker.
5. Elements Casino Brantford
Formerly called the OLG Casino Brantford, Elements Casino Brantford is a haven for gamers.
It has hundreds of electronic table games and slot machine games. Here, the stakes range from one to five cents and the games feature exciting themes like Norse mythology and dragons.
FAQ about Legal Gambling in Ontario
You can wager on single games on ProLine since it went live in August 2021. But, the iGaming marketplace is expected to launch by the end of the year 2021. Check some of the best online casinos here.
According to the federal government, as of August 27, 2021, sports betting is legal. But, the final decisions lie with the individual provinces and they will decide whether to legalize it in their jurisdiction. In Ontario, the government has been laying the framework for sports betting and you should be able to wager shortly.
Yes, according to the law, private and social gambling is legal. You can play a game of blackjack or poker from home. But, there are also restrictions to prevent people from running commercial gambling in the guise of ‘private' events at home.
The minimum gambling age in Ontario is 19 years.