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iGaming Outside of Ontario: Intra-Country and International Play

The Government of Ontario recently made a reference to the Court of Appeal for Ontario seeking to determine whether intra-country and international play in an online provincial lottery scheme is permitted by law. This blog provides a brief overview of the reference procedure, summarizes the contents of the reference and provides a timeline for when we can expect updates on this matter.

The Reference and the Timeline

The “reference procedure” is the ability of the government in Canada to ask a direct question (a “reference question”) to the court for its opinion. Typically, the questions posed will be of a constitutional nature.

In this case, the Government of Ontario asked “would legal online gaming and sports betting remain lawful under the Criminal Code if its users were permitted to participate in games and betting involving individuals outside of Canada …? If not, to what extent?”

To ask this question, the Government of Ontario released an Order in Council (the “OIC”) detailing the question on February 10, 2024. On March 1, 2024, they submitted a Statement of Particulars to the court and subsequently, Justice van Rensburg of the Court of Appeal made a procedural order providing details for next steps including a provision allowing for any intervention by interested parties. Those seeking leave to intervene in this matter are required to do so by April 8, 2024 and the reference is set to be heard from November 26-28, 2024.

Order in Council 210/2024 and the Reference

The OIC details the iGaming model the Government of Ontario is interested in implementing. Essentially, they hope that players located in “Ontario will be able to participate in peer-to-peer games, including games of chance and mixed chance and skill played for money, and sports betting, involving players outside of Canada. Players located outside of Ontario but within Canada [will not] be permitted to participate in games or betting in the absence of an agreement between Ontario and the province or territory in which those players are located.”

In terms of the applicability of regulations, the Government of Ontario states that they will continue to conduct and manage the iGO Sites through their Operators and international sites and players will be subject to their jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory regime.

The decision from this reference will provide key guidance for the iGaming industry and will impact many stakeholders. We will continue to provide updates on this matter as they are released.

If you have any questions about iGaming, our team would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to Segev LLP at 1-800-604-1312 or https://segev.ca/contact-us/.

Disclaimer

***The above blog post is provided for informational purposes only and has not been tailored to your specific circumstances. This blog post does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice and may not be relied upon as such.***