Ontario Gaming License

Ontario Gaming License

Access the largest provincial market in Canada with an Ontario iGaming License.

iGaming Ontario License

iGaming Ontario (iGO), in collaboration with the Government of Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), spearheads the regulated online gaming market in Ontario.

This regulatory body was established to ensure a safe and regulated environment for consumers engaging in online gambling through private gaming companies.

The establishment of this new market marks a significant milestone in providing a legal and structured framework for online gambling activities, ensuring operators are fully registered and approved, thus safeguarding the interests of players and promoting responsible gambling.

Licensing opens the door to one of Canada’s most vibrant gaming markets, ensuring legal operation and customer trust.

Ontario Gaming License Overview

In April 2022, Ontario launched its regulated online marketplace for iGaming, making it the first province in Canada to create a legal framework for private iGaming operators.

The AGCO, alongside its subsidiary iGO, facilitates the registration and regulation of these operators, allowing them to legally offer their services within the province. This development is pivotal in transitioning from a “grey market” to a regulated environment, offering a competitive and structured platform for both operators and consumers.

The licensing framework underscores Ontario’s commitment to ensuring a safe, fair, and responsible gaming environment

ONTARIO GAMING LICENSE - FREE CONSULTATION

Ontario Gaming License

In April 2022, Ontario launched its regulated online marketplace for iGaming, making it the first province in Canada to create a legal framework for private iGaming operators. The AGCO, alongside its subsidiary iGO, facilitates the registration and regulation of these operators, allowing them to legally offer their services within the province. This development is pivotal in transitioning from a “grey market” to a regulated environment, offering a competitive and structured platform for both operators and consumers. The licensing framework underscores Ontario’s commitment to ensuring a safe, fair, and responsible gaming environment.

Initial Steps and Required Documentation

Prospective operators looking to enter the Ontario online gaming market must undergo a thorough application process, overseen by the AGCO. This process includes the submission of detailed documentation, adherence to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, and compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) policies. Key documentation involves a gap analysis of the Registrar’s Standards, a Control Activity Matrix, and technology attestation to ensure compliance with AGCO’s standards. Operators are also required to demonstrate their capability in managing gaming operations in accordance with regulatory requirements​.

Types of Licenses

Ontario offers various licenses catering to different segments of the online gaming industry, including casino games, sports betting, and lottery. Each type of license comes with its specific set of requirements and standards, ensuring that operators cater to diverse gaming preferences while maintaining the integrity and fairness of gaming activities.

Technical Systems Evaluation for Ontario iGaming Operators

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) enforces a rigorous technical systems evaluation for iGaming operators to maintain the integrity, fairness, and security of online gaming. This comprehensive evaluation is designed to safeguard against fraud, ensure fair play, and protect the privacy and security of player information. Here’s an expanded overview of the main components involved in this evaluation:

Game Fairness

To ensure game fairness, the AGCO requires that all gaming systems and games undergo independent testing by an AGCO-approved testing lab before they are made available to the public. This testing assesses the randomness of game outcomes, the accuracy of payout ratios, and compliance with the published rules of the games. These tests help guarantee that games operate fairly and as advertised, providing players with a reliable and fair gaming experience.

System Security

The security of the gaming system is paramount in protecting sensitive player information and ensuring the integrity of gaming transactions. Operators must implement robust cybersecurity measures, including data encryption, secure network architectures, and regular security audits. These measures are designed to prevent unauthorized access, data breaches, and potential fraud. Operators must also comply with AGCO’s standards for data protection and privacy to ensure that player data is handled securely and with utmost confidentiality.

Integrity of Financial Transactions

Operators are required to maintain a high level of integrity in financial transactions. This involves using secure payment gateways, implementing anti-fraud measures, and ensuring that all financial transactions are transparent and traceable. The AGCO mandates that operators have systems in place to monitor and report suspicious activities, ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations.

Compliance with Regulatory Standards

Operators must demonstrate ongoing compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. These standards cover a wide range of operational aspects, including but not limited to responsible gaming practices, advertising guidelines, and customer interaction. These standards include the cessation of any unregulated market operations within Ontario upon being issued an AGCO registration and the termination of associations with companies that operate in the unregulated market​.

Overview of Licensing Fees

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) utilises a tiered fee structure for licensing, reflecting the diversity and scope of operations within the iGaming industry. This structure is designed to cover the spectrum of activities from small-scale charitable events to full-scale commercial gaming operations.

Operators aiming to enter the online gaming market in Ontario face a regulatory fee of $100,000 annually per gaming site, which is required at the time of application. This fee applies to both one and two-year term options, ensuring that the costs of regulatory oversight are adequately covered.

It’s crucial to understand that this fee is non-refundable, emphasising the importance of compliance and due diligence from the outset of the application process. For operations involving multiple gaming sites, separate applications—and hence, separate fees—are required for each site, underscoring the tailored approach to regulation and oversight adopted by the AGCO​.

Beyond the initial regulatory fee, additional costs may be incurred through the application process, including the reasonable costs of any required investigation. These are levied on an as-needed basis, depending on the specifics of the application and the depth of investigation required.

The AGCO aims to offset the total cost of regulating internet gaming, indicating that operators should anticipate possible additional payments to recover these costs, potentially exceeding the initial $100,000 regulatory fee.

The broader spectrum of gaming registration fees set by the AGCO for various classes of operators and suppliers also illustrates the comprehensive approach to industry regulation. For instance, operators of charitable gaming sites are subject to fees ranging from $700 to $12,000 per site, depending on the frequency of events. Gaming-related suppliers, crucial for the provision of gaming equipment and services, face fees ranging from $3,000 to $15,000, highlighting the tiered approach to different industry roles​.

Technical Systems Evaluation Fee

  • The cost of technical system evaluation is borne by the applicant and can vary widely depending on the system’s complexity. Operators might expect to spend between $5,000 and $50,000 for testing and certification by an AGCO-approved agency.

Gaming Taxes

Provincial Gaming Taxes

  • The tax rate for online gaming revenue in Ontario is structured progressively based on gross gaming revenue (GGR). While the exact brackets are subject to change, rates can start at 15% for the first $12 million of GGR and scale up to 25% for revenues exceeding certain thresholds.
  • Special gaming taxes or levies might also apply to specific gaming activities, such as sports betting or lotteries.

Corporate Taxes

Federal Corporate Tax

  • The basic federal corporate tax rate in Canada is 15% on taxable income, applicable to all corporations.

Provincial Corporate Tax

  • In Ontario, the general corporate income tax rate is 11.5%. However, small businesses, defined as those earning less than $500,000 in annual income, benefit from a lower rate of 3.2%.

Tax Incentives

  • Operators may qualify for various tax credits and incentives, particularly if they invest in innovation, technology, or employment. For instance, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program offers tax credits for businesses conducting research and development in Canada.

These figures serve as a guideline and are subject to change. The AGCO regularly updates its fee structure and tax rates to reflect the evolving gaming landscape, regulatory requirements, and economic conditions.

Licensing Cost Comparison & Taxation

Jurisdiction

Application Timeframe

Local Officer Requirements

License Costs

Annual Renewal Costs

Corporate Taxation

Gaming Tax

Local Server Requirement

Local Company Requirements

Alderney

3-6 months

Yes

£17,500

£35,000-£400,000

0%

0%

No

No

Anjouan

3-4 weeks

No

€17,000

€17,000

0%

0%

Replication

No

Curacao

8-10 weeks

Yes

€61,700

€43,200

2%

0%

Yes

Yes

Cyprus

6-9 months

Yes

€30,000

€30,000

12.5%

13%

Replication

Yes

Gibraltar

6-9 months

Yes

£100,000

£100,000

12.5%

1% max £425,000

Yes

Yes

Isle of Man

3-6 months

Yes

£36,750 – £52,500

£36,750 – £52,500

0%

0.1 – 1.5%

No

Yes

Kahnawake

4-6 months

No

$40,000

$20,000

0%

0%

Yes

No

Malta

6-12 months

Yes

€25,000 – €85,000

€25,000-€85,000

35%

5% max €600,000

Yes

Yes

Ontario

6-12 Months

No

$100,000

$100,000

15%

15-25%

No

No

Tobique

6-8 weeks

No

€36,000

€18,000

0%

0%

Compliance Platform

No

United Kingdom

3-6 months

No

£4,224- £91,686

£4,199-£793,729+

19%-25%

15%-21%

No

No

 

  • The figures presented in the table above serve as estimates and are provided for informational purposes. It’s important to note that certain costs are approximations and may vary based on fluctuations in exchange rates.
  • It’s crucial to understand that the mentioned costs exclusively pertain to licensing fees and do not encompass expenses associated with legal fees, compliance procedures, or liaising with gaming regulatory authorities.
  • Furthermore, it’s essential to consider that additional charges might apply, including fees for key person licenses, local substance requirements, minimum capital obligations, and other regulatory prerequisites beyond the scope of the license costs.

Explore the diverse jurisdictions we specialise in through our comprehensive licensing support. Select a location from the dropdown menu to gain detailed insights into each region’s licensing landscape, requirements, and strategic advantages for your iGaming venture.

The Ontario Gaming License FAQ

Is a local entity required to obtain an Ontario iGaming License?

No. Forming a local entity in Ontario is not required to apply for an Ontario iGaming license.

Where should the gaming servers be located for Ontario operations?

Servers must be located in a jurisdiction approved by the AGCO to ensure compliance with data protection and accessibility standards.

Can liquidity pools include play that occurs outside Ontario?

Any games involving liquidity pools outside of Ontario are prohibited at this time.

What are the various requirements regarding Ontario player residency, Ontario-based accounts, and playing online physically in the province?

A player’s residency status is not a factor in whether they can play  on websites offered by registered and authorized Operators. The requirement is that players must physically be in Ontario to play legally.

Regardless of the above, players can register and manage their account (e.g. deposit or withdraw funds) while physically outside of Ontario.

Can gambling services be offered to other provinces or jurisdictions with an Ontario license?

Ontario licensed iGaming operators are only permitted to provide their iGaming offerings in Ontario and cannot rely on their registration with the AGCO in order to provide their offerings in other provinces or jurisdictions.

Does Ontario permit virtual currencies to be used for gambling purposes?

Ontario prohibits iGaming operators from accepting cryptocurrency deposits from participants.

How long does the licensing process typically take?

The process can vary but generally takes from several months up to a year, depending on various factors including the completeness of your application.

For how long are Licenses valid?

Licenses are valid for a period of one (1) year.

What types of gaming activities are covered under the Ontario iGaming License?

The license covers a wide range of activities including online casinos, sports betting, and other digital gaming platforms.

Are there specific financial requirements for applicants?

Yes, applicants must demonstrate financial stability, including evidence of sufficient capital and a sound business plan.

How often are license holders audited by the regulatory authority?

License holders are subject to routine audits, which can be annual or biennial, and additional audits can be conducted if compliance issues arise.

Are there any restrictions on advertising for licensed operators?

Yes, there are specific advertising guidelines that must be followed, focusing on responsible gambling practices and not targeting minors.

What support does the AGCO provide to new licensees?

The AGCO offers regulatory guidance, compliance resources, and sometimes training sessions for new licensees.

How is player protection enforced under the license?

Operators are required to implement robust measures for player protection, including self-exclusion programs and limits on play.

What anti-money laundering practices must be followed?

Operators must adhere to strict anti-money laundering protocols, including player identity verification and transaction monitoring.

Are there specific software testing requirements?

Yes, all gaming software must be tested and certified by an AGCO-approved testing agency.

Are operators required to contribute to problem gambling programs?

Yes, operators must contribute to programs aimed at preventing and treating problem gambling.

Is French Language a requirement for operator websites?

No, operator websites are not required to be offered in French.

Are there any requirements for player complaints procedures?

No, iGaming Ontario does not require an operator to have a third-party Alternative Dispute Resolution provider at this time.

Corporate Structure

Strategic Framework for Global Expansion: Using Alderney's Prestige to Enter Canada's Largest Gaming Market

Our corporate strategy for gaming licensing in Ontario is designed to strategically leverage the prestigious Alderney gaming license as a springboard for entering the Canadian market, particularly Ontario, which represents the largest provincial gaming market in Canada.

By establishing a company in Alderney and obtaining an Alderney gaming license, entities benefit from its globally recognised gaming license known for its rigorous regulatory standards and broad international acceptance. This initial setup not only provides a strategic foothold within a jurisdiction that supports global online gaming ventures but also takes advantage of Alderney’s competitive corporate tax benefits.

The acquisition of an Alderney gaming license serves as a foundational step for companies seeking to expand into international markets, specifically targeting Ontario. The esteem associated with the Alderney license significantly enhances the credibility of companies when applying for an Ontario iGaming License. This strategic positioning is crucial as it facilitates easier navigation through Ontario’s complex regulatory landscape, leveraging the Alderney license’s prestige and recognized standards to meet Ontario’s stringent requirements.

Ultimately, establishing your online gaming operations in Alderney offers not just regulatory support and tax advantages but also a critical strategic advantage in accessing one of the largest and most competitive gaming markets in Canada. This framework is meticulously crafted to guide entities through the intricate process of international market penetration while maximising financial and operational efficiencies.

Corporate Structure - Ontario Gaming License

Benefits of an Ontario Gaming License

Unlocking Growth and Assurance: The Advantages of an Ontario License for New and Established Operators.

For Start-ups

  • Access to a Regulated Market: Licensing opens the door to one of Canada’s most vibrant gaming markets, ensuring legal operation and customer trust.
  • Regulatory Support: The AGCO provides guidance to help new operators meet compliance standards, facilitating a smooth market entry.
  • Brand Credibility: A license signifies adherence to high standards of fairness and security, enhancing brand reputation.
  • Financial Incentives: Potential tax benefits and incentives support business growth and technological innovation.
  • Consumer Trust: Licensed operators are more likely to attract customers seeking safe and responsible gaming environments.
  • Market Insights: The AGCO offers valuable industry data and trends, aiding strategic planning and competitive positioning.

For Existing Gaming Companies

  • Continued Compliance: Ongoing support and resources from the AGCO help maintain regulatory compliance and operational integrity.
  • Market Expansion: The ability to introduce new games and services under the regulatory framework, tapping into new customer segments.
  • Enhanced Reputation: Maintaining a license reinforces a commitment to fairness and security, solidifying customer loyalty.
  • Operational Stability: Clear regulatory guidelines provide a stable environment for long-term business planning and investment.
  • Advocacy and Influence: Licensed operators can engage in industry discussions, influencing future regulations and standards.
  • Networking Opportunities: Participation in AGCO events and forums offers networking with industry peers and stakeholders.

ONTARIO GAMING LICENSE - FREE CONSULTATION