The long-awaited launch of Ontario’s regulated iGaming and sports betting market for private operators is less than a month away, however, there is one downside to it. Operators who have been approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario, will not be allowed to advertise promotions such as signup or welcome bonuses.
Ontario is the most populous province in Canada, and the introduction of its regulated iGaming market has attracted plenty of interest from industry-leading operators who are looking to take advantage of it. Previously, the province announced that the new regime kicks off on April 4, 2022, and approved operators are applying the final touches to their online products.
Operators Need to be Creative
The two regulators of the gambling industry in the province, the AGCO and iGaming Ontario have not given permission for operators to advertise their welcome bonus promotions such as risk-free bets and welcome bonuses. And recently, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, Paul Burns shared some light on how such marketing will work in the province.
Mr. Burns indicated that such special promotions can be put on the operators’ websites, as well as offering them to players in their database. However, in his words, such marketing cannot be put in their advertisements. He added that online casinos which are licensed to operate in the province are also not allowed to advertise such limited-time offers.
In addition to that, President and CEO commented that this way the competition in Ontario’s market will be entirely based on operators’ products and not on who can come up with the largest welcome bonus. In his words, it is going to be quite different from what gamblers have seen in the United State, and licensed operators will have to get creative to attract customers.
Since the industry standard signup bonuses cannot be advertised in the province, operators have already undertaken some steps to accommodate to the new market. For example, BetRivers Canada offers the chance to try out their sportsbook and casino with play-for-fun options. While PointsBet Canada has reached out for help to local cultural icons the Trailer Park Boys and serve as brand ambassadors.
888 Joins the Party
Last week, Ontario learned the name of one more operator who has been licensed by the AGCO and iGaming Ontario to operate in the soon-to-launch market and its name is 888. The company is a leading online wagering website, and this April will be able to launch its premium iCasino, sports betting, and poker products via its proprietary technology to the eligible Ontarian gamblers.
One more issue that the provincial regulators are worried about is how operators will be able to prevent out-of-jurisdiction players from participating. The two front-runners for geofencing service providers are LocationSmart and GeoComply. Both use different ways of deterring a player’s locations and have their pros and cons, but LocationSmart has previously worked with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and IGT.
Source: Duff, Robert “Privately-Run Ontario Sportsbooks Won’t Be Able to Advertise Promos”, SportsBettingDime, March 4, 2022