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iGaming in the Great White North: Paul Burns on the Canadian market at SiGMA Europe 2021

Posted:: Jan 13, 2022 12:02 Category: Americas , Executive Interview , Regulatory , Posted by Kyle

As the president of the Canadian Gaming Association, Burns is a key figure when it comes to the future of the industry in one of the leading economic regions of the global economy. At SiGMA Europe 2021, he spoke about the growing market, evolving regulation and the near future

As a coalition of stakeholders in the emerging iGaming industry from operators to affiliates to even investors, the Association is tasked with promoting the economic and technological growth of the sector in Canada, the last few years have been nothing if not eventful. While the nation has had legal sports wagering for decades, the regulations in place had been severely constraining the local market with this feeding a large offshore grey market that was siphoning potential clients with billions of dollars going towards these illegal markets.

With the Association pushing for regulatory change for the better part of a decade, recent years have seen the push for legislation that opened up the Canadian provinces for a regulated and sanctioned iGaming industry. Bill C-218, the fourth attempt at enshrining pro-iGaming legislation, capitalized on the growing influence that sports betting had in the United States that was spilling over the border and successfully passed in June 22, 2021. This being said, the ongoing pandemic did disrupt the parliament’s operations significantly and this did have a palatable effect on the ability to legislate and reform.

This led to the provinces of Canada to step up and supportively regulate the burgeoning industry. Using an open licensing market model, provinces such as Ontario have opened the floodgates for a new wave or regulated industries that, through a single license, would have access to both the province as well as other tethered American states. Ontario’s online gaming market is set to open in early 2022 and so far, responses have been extremely positive for both regulators and customers alike.

Sports betting in particular has been the subject of regulation towards becoming accessible online while online gaming has itself been given more legal clarity.

It doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation, which is a real shame because regulation is all about protecting players. How are we going to see that evolve? And how is that going to be perceived and, and be more understood in the Canadian market.

The enhanced regulatory environment was also a massive plus for the provincial governments. Before the reforms, the grey market has siphoned off almost a billion dollars that could have been taxes with 500 million coming from Ontario alone. Hence, the better regulated market has supported the industry in becoming a vital pillar for the regional government’s revenue stream.

toronto skyline at dusk
Regulatory clarity could lead Ontario into becoming a global hub of iGaming activity.

Burns also spoke about the competitive advantages of Canada and how they could help spearhead the nation’s iGaming industry. With the country’s massive and ever-growing tech sector, the region has already broken ground in the sophistication of the industry. He argued that the reforms have unleashed the potential for the industry in terms of both global competitiveness as well as its ability to cater for the needs and desires of its customer base with a number of Canada-born firms even relocating back to the familiar grounds. According to Burns, the future of the industry in Canada is bright and we have a lot to look forward to.

Burns also reflected on the philanthropic aspect of the next regulatory scheme. The province of Alberta has adopted a charity licensing system where the revenue gained from Gaming profit is split between charitable organizations and the regional government. The rest of the states have all adopted a different approach with the state of Saskatchewan soon to launch their first legal online regime.

For more SiGMA highlights from Malta Week 2021, follow the link.

SiGMA’s iGathering: Dubai

SiGMA’s renowned iGathering networking events kick off on the 28th February with an intimate dinner in Dubai. This event presents the ideal opportunity to network and strike connections in a cordial environment where attendees can relax and forge synergies. Reach out to Ali for invites or more information and let us take care of the rest!

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