The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is a regulatory body in Ontario that reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General. This body was established under the Alcohol, Cannabis, and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act of 1996. The gambling watchdog is responsible for oversight in various forms of gaming and entertainment. They include horse racing, cannabis retail, and alcohol. It does this with all integrity and honesty as well as public interest. With that in mind, the regulator administers: The Gaming Control Act of 1992, The Horse Racing License Act of 2015, The Cannabis License Act of 2018, and The Liquor Licence and Control Act of 2019.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is mandated to operate within Ontario. Therefore, all gambling and gaming-related companies looking to operate in this province must first seek approval from this regulator. This approval requires applicants to go through a host of rigorous checks including providing a business plan, bankruptcy history, and a list of the identities of all directors and officers among others.
The Gaming Commission also oversees commercial and charitable gaming activities in Ontario. In short, lottery and charitable gaming activities are regulated by the province. Before the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the state had three other bodies.
The Liquor Licence Board of Ontario was established in 1947 through the Liquor License Act. Subsequently, the board was mandated to oversee the regulation of the sale, service, and consumption of beverage alcohol in the state.
The Gaming Control Commission started operations in 1994 after it was established under the Gaming Control Act of 1992. This Commission’s job was to regulate charitable and casino gaming to promote financial responsibility, integrity, and honesty.
The Ontario Racing Commission was first established through the Racing Commission Act. This body’s main job was to regulate horse racing along the lines of public interest as well as honesty and integrity.
When it comes to online gaming, the AGCO focuses on several areas to ensure gamblers and operators work within the provided rules and regulations. One of these areas is fair gaming. All gaming operators including lotteries and casinos must go through rigorous testing and approval by the regulator to ensure their gaming management systems such as the RNGs are in line with the set standards. The AGCO continues monitoring these systems to ensure the operators stick to the Gaming Control Act stipulations.
Anti-money laundering is also a key focus area for this regulator. The AGCO uses a range of methods to combat this international crime including regular audits, investigations, and inspections to clamp down on activities around money laundering. Operators are also required to implement controls, procedures, and policies that specify situations and times, based on risk assessment, where they must corroborate a player’s source of funds.
Responsible gambling is another important area as the regulator aims to protect players’ interests. The regulator has developed several standards that all licensees must adhere to operate in Ontario. These standards touch on the following responsible gambling areas:
Data governance is a top issue for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in its quest to maintain sensitive data protection and integrity. And with the powers vested upon the regulator, AGCO requires all operators to ensure data is backed up appropriately to allow storage and restoration.
The data must also be stored at an off-site location as directed under applicable laws and policies. Safe and secure payment methods also fall within security as a whole. The regulator requires operators to integrate trustworthy and reputable payment solutions. SSL encryption is also a key requirement to guarantee all transactions are secured.
AGCO offers dispute resolution services around lottery tickets. However, the regulator doesn’t offer dispute resolution mechanisms for gambling-related transactions. Instead, it asks players to submit formal complaints to the casino’s customer service department.