iGaming Ontario, which is the new regulator of the province’s iGaming offerings, announced that it will be making some changes to online poker from this spring. The subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario informed that starting from April 4, 2022, it will formally ban poker players from participating in the international pool.
The province informed that the decision to make the drastic change is far from spontaneous as the notion to split the pool of Ontario was first discussed back in 2019. This is when the provincial government presented its budget plan for the future. The change affects not only Ontarians but it has an effect on the international poker industry.
April 4 Changes
After iGaming Ontario announced its new rules, it became clear that after April 4, 2022, only residents of the country and residents of Ontario can play in the provincial pool. While international gambling companies from it will be suspended. Initially, the measures were supposed to be lighter, but the province has opted to make them stricter.
Gambling leaders, such as Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, expressed their discontent with the change. According to a company study, the decision would implement more damage to the federal budget. Some experts even predict that bettors would most likely prefer to play on legal operators’ platforms, which operate through offshore companies without regulation and taxation.
Flutter Entertainment commented that the company plans to apply for an Ontario license, and move its FanDuel fantasy sports division to the province. This may trigger the legalization of the company’s PokerStars.com in the jurisdictions. The closure of the market would also inflict a slight reduction in traffic in each room, but it is not estimated exactly how much.
According to initial predictions, the change would affect Ontario residents, as the size of the pool will be significantly reduced by approximately 10 to 20 times. Hence, prizes from the games will also become smaller. The number of playgrounds and rooms will also drastically decrease, and non-licensed companies will be required to stop offering their products online. Companies that violate the regulation, would be blacklisted by the province.
Coming This Spring
At the end of January, Ontario announced that it will be opening its long-awaited open iGaming and sports betting market for provincially approved operators. The new market opens on April 4, 2022, and iGaming Ontario shared that it has agreements in place with licensed operators for them to start accepting bids online from locals.
Looking for Geofencing Provider
Recently, iGaming Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission shared that they are alarmed about how operators will stop out of the jurisdiction players from accessing the market. Currently, the rumored providers of geofencing services are GeoComply and LocationSmart, and both have their pros and cons. The latter has already worked with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which can give it a head start.
Source: Stein, Stephen “Poker Reservation in Ontario”, On The Spot News, March 2, 2022