Ontario Superior Court Upholds iGaming Ontario’s Authority Over Online Gaming, Dismissing Mohawk Council Challenge

Home » Ontario Superior Court Upholds iGaming Ontario’s Authority Over Online Gaming, Dismissing Mohawk Council Challenge

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has rendered a verdict dismissing the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke’s (MCK) legal challenge against the Ontario government’s authorization of online gaming in the province. This decision marks a significant milestone in the ongoing debate over the regulation of online gambling in Ontario.

Ontario’s regulatory framework:

In Ontario, iGaming Ontario (iGO) collaborates with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and the provincial government to oversee the online gaming industry. This partnership aims to regulate the sector, safeguard consumers through measures like responsible gambling practices, and expand digital gaming options. Under this framework, gaming operators undergo a rigorous registration process with the AGCO before entering into operating agreements with iGO, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and consumer protection measures.

Gaming operators must first obtain registration with AGCO and then establish an operating agreement with iGO before launching their products. iGaming Ontario assumes responsibility for conducting and managing the industry within the province, as outlined by its mandate. By implementing strict operational protocols and regulatory oversight, iGO aims to create a safe and transparent gaming environment for Ontarians.

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MCK has vehemently opposed C-218, the legislation that legalized new forms of sports gambling in Canada in June 2021. They contested Ontario’s gaming management changes, alleging illegality and unconstitutionality. However, the Ontario Superior Court ruled in favor of iGaming Ontario, affirming the model’s compliance with the Criminal Code. The court’s decision reinforces the legality and legitimacy of Ontario’s online gaming regulatory framework, providing clarity and stability to the industry.

According to the source, Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario, expressed confidence in its regulatory model, emphasizing its alignment with legal requirements and commitment to consumer protection. She highlighted the positive impact of Ontario’s gaming framework, including revenue contribution to public services and job creation. iGaming Ontario remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency in the online gaming industry.

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MCK’s concerns:

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, with a rich history in online gaming spanning 25 years, licenses online gaming operators on behalf of the Mohawks of Kahnawake. They voiced concerns that Ontario’s regulatory shift disregards their expertise and jeopardizes significant revenue streams for the Kahnawake community. Despite the court’s ruling, MCK continues to advocate for the recognition of Indigenous gaming rights and the preservation of their cultural and economic interests in the gaming industry.

The judgment affirms iGaming Ontario’s pivotal role in overseeing operators and managing various aspects of the online gaming scheme. It underscores iGO’s control and operational influence, solidifying its position as the primary regulatory authority in Ontario’s online gaming landscape. The court’s ruling provides clarity and certainty to stakeholders in the gaming industry, ensuring a fair and transparent regulatory framework that prioritizes consumer protection and responsible gaming practices.

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