ONTARIO
Gambling License

Obtaining licenses for gambling activities, tax consultancy & planning, legal strategy, consultancy, legal opinions & reports, and incorporating companies in European jurisdictions without requiring the licensing of related activities.

Ontario Gambling License

Gambling online in Ontario has always been seen as a grey area in Canadian law when it comes to its legality. Especially so when considering the diverse opinions from around the world surrounding legal gambling.

With a gambling history that dates back to the 14ht century and is linked to the Canadian Criminal Code, which declared a ban on most gambling activities in 1892. The only exception to such a law was gambling in horse racing.

Canada has a rich history in gaming and Canadians enjoy the sport as much as any other country. In Fact, statistics show that 8 out of 10 Ontarian residents enjoy gambling on a regular basis.

Ontario is one of the provinces that has had its own regulations and rules in place since 1975. In May, the Ontario Lottery Corporation was created, with the first game legally offered being known as, Wintario. The Ontario Lottery Corporation would then be replaced by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in April 2000.

Gambling in Ontario only really took off when their first casino was built in 1993. It was named the Casino Windsor and brought with it the promise of many jobs and between $120 to $180 million in provincial revenue per year. Despite some nay-sayers, the casino was a roaring success which led to the opening of many more, including Casino Rama and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort.

Six years later, the prohibition on dice games would be erased from legislation by the federal government in Ottawa, and by the year 2001, Canadian provinces as a whole would play host to over 38,500 video lottery terminals, over 31,500 slot machines, and over 1,800 bingo hall permit. As 2010 rolled around, the OLG announced its move into the online gaming business, with a real-money gaming site, PlayOLG opening its doors in 2013.

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Gambling and Licensing in Ontario

Gambling in Ontario is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). AGCO is a provincial regulatory agency that reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General. It was formed under the Alcohol, Cannabis, and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act of 1996. This means that they are responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing, and cannabis retail sectors within Ontario.

They oversee casino gaming, Ontario Lottery, and Gaming Corporation (OLG) lotteries, charitable gaming, internet gaming, and horse racing. There are six classes of registration:

  • Commercial gaming site operators
  • Gaming related suppliers
  • Non-gaming related suppliers eg. Construction, furnishing, maintenance, and repair not directly related to the playing or operating of the gaming site.
  • Category 1 gaming assistants
  • Category 2 gaming assistants
  • Trade Unions licenses. Trade unions represent registered gaming assistants employed in or at a gaming site. Gaming assistant licenses are split into two of their own sections, the first being an individual who is employed in the conduct, management, or operation of a lottery scheme or gaming site and who exercises a significant level of decision-making authority. The second license is exactly the same, except it caters to those who do not have any decision-making authority.

Most lottery and gaming registrations must be done online via the iAGCO portal, this includes renewals. You must create an account and follow the steps given.

For horse racing, you can apply:

  • in person at an AGCO Racetrack Licensing office
  • by mail. Download the applicable licensing forms, complete them and send them to the AGCO head office with the appropriate licensing fee
  • by fax or email. Download the applicable licensing forms and complete them. Fax or scan and email to the AGCO head office. Fees can be paid (by Visa or Mastercard) over the phone with the AGCO head office.

How to Obtain the Ontario Gambling License

To obtain and maintain your Ontario Gambling License, you will need to pay the yearly fee and make sure that you/your gaming operation continues to abide by the laws and regulations upheld by the AGCO.

Licensing fees vary depending on what gaming service you offer. There are different fees for different operators:

  • Charitable Gaming Site (4 or more events per week) – $12,000/site
  • Charitable Gaming Site (3 or fewer events per week) – $700/site
  • Commercial Gaming Site – $100,000/site

Gaming assistants also need to pay fees:

Category 1 Gaming Assistant – $300/year. This category includes employees with significant supervisory or decision-making responsibility: Table Game Managers, Slot Managers, Food and Beverage Supervisors, Cage and Coin Supervisors, Security and Surveillance Managers and Supervisors, Casino Executives, Bingo Hall Managers, and Lottery Retail Managers.

Category 2 Gaming Assistant – $165/year. This category includes employees without significant supervisory or decision-making responsibility: Croupiers, Dealers, Cashiers, Bingo Callers, Slot Technicians & Attendants, and Security Guards.

The gaming-related suppliers are split into two sections.

  • Manufacturers who create hardware for casinos – $15,000/year.
  • Services suppliers, covering those who distribute gaming-related equipment, those that coordinate and/or facilitate lottery schemes on behalf of charities, etc. – $3,000/year.

Non-gaming-related suppliers – $2,000/year. They may be exempt from the requirement to hold a license as a Non-Gaming-Related Supplier if the value of the goods supplied in a 12-month period is $750,000 or less, and if the OLG has carried out a due diligence investigation of the business. Furthermore, if the business is regulated by the Government of Ontario or Canada, this may also exemplify them from registering.

Trade Union and intend to represent registered gaming assistants – $2,000 per year. Gaming assistants may need to be registered first with the AGCO if they are to work in a casino or slot machine facility. More specifically, if any of the following responsibilities are given as part of regular work duties, a gaming assistant needs to be registered:

  • Facilitate gameplay
  • Access, repair or modify gaming-related equipment or systems
  • Monitor, handle or protect gaming-related assets or money
  • Work primarily in a sensitive area of the gaming site, for example, surveillance
  • Control or supervise access to the property
  • Access gaming floor as part of regular work duties
  • Establish the policy or strategic direction of the organization or gaming site

Registration fees must be submitted alongside the application for licensing.

If a licensee does not comply with the laws and regulations there are penalties such as warnings, fines, and even imprisonment. For example, if an individual is convicted, they will be liable for a fine of $50 000 or imprisonment for no more than one year, or both. If a corporation is convicted then it will be issued with a fine of no more than $500 000. Each person has the right to a hearing and may request one in writing to be served to the Registrar and the Tribunal within fifteen days of the notice. The Registrar may also issue an immediate order for compliance.

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