Torstar plans online gambling portal to help fund future journalism efforts
Ontario is on track to pass new legislation to modernize its gambling sector by this fall following the conclusion of a public consultation process, according to the province's Attorney General.
Earlier this month, Ontario appointed Birgitte Sand to lead efforts to engage with the public on the province's online gambling regulations ahead of a move to allow private businesses and third-party service providers to enter the tightly-regulated industry. Prior to the appointment, Sand led Denmark's gambling regulator between 2008 to 2020.
Ontario's work comes alongside a similar process being undertaken by its federal counterparts ahead of a bill that would allow single-game sports betting across Canada.
Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey told BNN Bloomberg that the consultation process will determine what kind of consumer protections should be included in the regulations, how to protect against potential money laundering, and help specify the role the private sector will have in the province's online gambling sector.
"There's different parts of this and we don't need to wait for the federal government to do what they're doing," Downey said in a phone interview.
"It's our goal to have the framework built and finalized by the fall of this year."
According to a white paper published by the Ontario government, the province is looking to finalize what kind of revenue-sharing approach it will have with private-sector players, what kind of betting categories will be included – such as prop bets and single-game sports – and how existing land-based gaming operators will be able to offer online services.
"That's exactly what the consultations are about. I really look forward to hearing from people with experience in the field and being with opinions to be able to answer that question, eventually," Downey said.
There's been growing interest from some private sector businesses in launching their online betting services once the legal framework has been established. Torstar Corp., the publisher of the Toronto Star and dozens of other newspapers, said last month it plans to develop its own online betting platform to help fund its journalism efforts.