Gambling in the Country of Canada

Overview of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario

Contrary to initial impressions, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s activity is not limited to drinking and playing slots. In fact, this institution has the unenviable task of making sure that certain vices are safe for the general public to take part in. Here is some general information about AGCO Ontario:

✅ Year Founded 1998
❓ Fields of Work Alcohol, Lottery and Gambling, Horse Racing, Cannabis
💼 Employees 500+
🗺️ Address Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario 90 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 200-300 Toronto, Ontario M2N 0A4
🌐 Website
📞 Phone General telephone: 416-326-8700
Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876
📧 Email [email protected]

As you can see, this institution deals with a wide range of different issues. The scope of its practice is quite broad, and this is not random. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was established in 1998 by merging the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, the Gaming Control Commission, and the Ontario Racing Commission.

Over the years, the commission’s role has expanded to regulate other activities and substances. Once recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada, the AGCO in Ontario had the honour of regulating its retail form.

Purpose and Mission Statement

The purpose of AGCO Ontario is to provide the user with a safe and high-quality product. Regardless of what you enjoy, this institution is tasked with ensuring that everything is above board. Here is the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s mission statement in their own words:

The AGCO commits to conducting business in a manner that will:

  • Develop, implement and enforce fair policies and procedures
  • Establish a framework of critical regulatory controls in the public interest that are sensitive to the economic viability of the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and cannabis industries
  • Be client focused in the way they respond to and manage client and stakeholder needs
  • Educate clients and stakeholders and develop partnerships
  • Create a supportive work environment that respects and values AGCO staff contributions and provides them with opportunities for growth and professional achievement

Online Gambling in Ontario

Ontario is one of the few Canadian provinces with centrally regulated online gambling. Unlike other regions, Ontario does the work to create the necessary conditions for legit online gaming to thrive. It is no surprise then, that many of the best Canadian online casinos have much in common with Ontario operators. Per the Ontario regulations, the minimum gambling age is 19 years old, and responsible gambling is advised.

So, what does it take to earn an AGCO license to run an online casino in Ontario? The process is described as relatively straightforward. The institution defines several different types of online gaming platforms – commercial and charitable. Charitable operators pay significantly lower fees, whereas commercial gambling operators have to cough up $100,000 per year per site.

Additionally, to earn the AGCO license, operators have to abide by the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. This includes a broad list of requirements that have to do with fair gaming, responsible gambling, protecting vulnerable groups, limiting illegal activities, and others. Only after ensuring that the applicant covers all necessary requirements the regulator might issue a gambling license in Ontario.

Regulating Online Gambling in Ontario

As one of the few regulated Canadian online gambling markets, Ontario’s iGaming scene is definitely interesting for us to explore. To call Ontario’s gambling regulations unorthodox would be an understatement. To start off, just about all forms of online gambling are permitted by AGCO Ontario.

🎲 Online Gambling Type: ⚖️ Legal Status:
🎰 Casino Legal
🏈 Sports Betting Legal
♠️ Poker Legal
⭐️ Bingo Not Specified

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is the entity that approves and licences iGaming operators. However, where most other jurisdictions would lay off and let operators do their thing, the province introduces the iGaming Ontario entity.

This organisation works with all licensed operators in the province to provide players with the respective gambling product. It bridges the gap between the government’s role in regulating and the actual day-to-day business activities of an operator. There is no precedent for iGaming Ontario in Canadian gambling laws so far.

The role of iGaming Ontario (iGO) is not the most clear-cut, and even after reading about it, most people find it confusing. In short, according to Ontario’s gambling laws, iGO is the entity that provides the online gambling service rather than the specific operator. The individual casinos or sportsbooks are seen more as a type of ‘gateway’ to the gambling product.

Additionally, all money passes through the iGO bank accounts, the appropriate taxes are subtracted from the revenue, and only then is the money transferred to the operators’ accounts. It is definitely a strange way of doing things. So far, the best gambling sites in Canada have had free reign to run their affairs as they see fit. Time will tell if this method is worthwhile or too obstructive to run a business. Till then, make sure you’re 19 years old before gambling and do so responsibly.

AGCO and Horse Racing

Aside from online gambling, the AGCO is also responsible for the horse racing scene in the province. Currently, the activity is legal and regulated by the AGCO division for horse racing. There are numerous racetracks spread out all over the province. Here is a list of all horse racing locations in Ontario:

  • Flamboro Downs – Dundas, Ontario
  • Rideau Carleton Raceway – Ottawa, Ontario
  • The Raceway at the Western Fair District – London, Ontario
  • Woodbine Mohawk Park – Campbellville, Ontario
  • Woodbine Racetrack – Etobicoke, Ontario

Betting at the tracks is fully supported, as is the online equivalent. Races are held regularly, and there is a full schedule posted for each racetrack. If horse racing is something that interests you, then Ontario is ready to provide you with an excellent source of entertainment.

Popular Questions

If you have any questions on the matter, please check out the FAQ below. We have done our best to include the most pressing questions by Ontario players. You will also find quick and easy-to-understand answers.

1️⃣ What is the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario?

As stated in our AGCO overview, this is the provincial institution that regulates online gambling in Ontario. It is also responsible for alcohol and cannabis commerce in the province. The AGCO issues licenses to companies that wish to deal in gambling, alcohol, or cannabis in Ontario.

2️⃣ What is the purpose of AGCO Ontario?

The purpose of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is to provide users with a safe product. Whether it be gambling or substances, the AGCO is there to ensure that you can engage safely in your preferred vice.

3️⃣ How is an AGCO license for gambling earned?

Earning an AGCO gambling license requires potential operators to meet all necessary regulations. This includes providing responsible gambling tools, provably fair games, prohibiting illegal activities and access to vulnerable groups. There is also the topic of the yearly operating fees, which amount to $100,000 for commercial operations.

4️⃣ How are online gambling businesses regulated by AGCO Ontario?

The online gambling regulations in Ontario are not quite like anything else out there. Once a company meets the necessary standards, it earns an AGCO licence. However, another entity – iGaming Ontario – is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations. It’s a heavy-handed approach, to be sure, and only time will tell if it pays off.

5️⃣ Does AGCO Ontario regulate horse racing?

Aside from casino gambling and sports betting, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario also regulates the ON horse racing scene. You will have free access to online betting on the races, and you can also check the racing schedule weeks in advance.

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