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With the April 4 opening of Ontario’s legalized sportsbook and iGaming market fast approaching, new online casino operators and providers have flocked to the region in an attempt to grab an early slice of what would become one of the largest online gambling markets in the world.
And in an announcement on Thursday, online sportsbook provider BetRivers has joined that opening lineup. BetRivers’ parent company Rush Street Interactive (RSI) reported that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has accepted BetRivers’ application for iGaming Operator Registration.
According to RSI CEO Richard Schwartz, “the receipt of our registration in Ontario is an important milestone that demonstrates our commitment to operating only in legalized markets where we pay local taxes, and we are grateful for the trust of the AGCO.”
Rush Street Interactive initially launched BetRivers.net in October 2021 as a free-to-play sports betting platform in Canada. But having now acquired an iGaming operator license ahead of the Ontario market opening, RSI will roll out betting options on the BetRivers platform.
Ontario was the first province to declare a strategy for a commercial online gambling sector, and it was also the first to implement the plan. The AGCO, Ontario’s main regulatory body for responsible gambling operations, worked through the requirements and stated earlier this year that commercial operators would be able to begin operating in April.
The opening of iGaming in the AGCO follows in the footsteps of landmark Canadian legislation that expanded the authority of individual provinces to regulate their gambling markets to now encompass online casinos in Ontario. Prior to this, the only legal gambling avenue for online bettors in Canada was the one operated by the provincial government – OLG.ca in Ontario’s case.
The decision to open up licensing avenues for third-party operators was made by AGCO in an attempt to assert greater control of the otherwise unregulated (and therefore untaxed) online casino market in the province, as well as implement responsible gambling policies and practices on the now-legalized casinos.