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The history of gambling in Canada as a whole is linked to the Canadian Criminal Code, which declared a ban on most gambling activities in 1892. The only exception to such a law was gambling on horse racing. Over time, such gambling bans have been slowly, but surely lifted.

However, when speaking of gaming licenses across Canada, different states invoke alternative laws and rules surrounding the availability of gambling within. The state of Ontario is one that has had its own regulations and rules in place since 1975. It would be in May of that year that the Ontario Lottery Corporation was created, with the first game legally offered being known as, Wintario. The Ontario Lottery Corporation would then be replaced by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in April, 2000.

The year of 1993 would welcome the State's first land-based casino in the province of Windsor, with the move expecting to bring between $120 to $180 million in provincial revenue per year. Six years later, the prohibition on dice games would be erased from legislation by the federal government in Ottawa, and by the year 2001, Canadian provinces as a whole would play host to over 38,500 video lottery terminals, over 31,500 slot machines and over 1,800 bingo hall permits. As 2010 rolled around, the OLG announced its move into the online gaming business, with a real-money gaming site, PlayOLG opening its doors in 2013.

Gaming licenses available in Ontario

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) offers up various different types of commercial gaming registrations. Depending upon the type of person applying for the license, there are a few different categories, and subsequently, alternative routes to take in order to apply for the license itself.

The first of the licenses provided is for an operator, which is quite simply put, a person who operates a gaming site. In order to be able to operate a casino or slot machine facility in Ontario, you have to be registered with the AGCO as such.

In addition, licenses exist for both gaming-related and non-gaming-related suppliers, with the former being a person who manufactures, provides, installs, tests, maintains and/or repairs gaming equipment. The latter is a person who provides goods or services relating to the construction, furnishing, repair, maintenance or business of a gaming site or establishment, but who aren't directly related to the playing of a lottery scheme or the operation of the site itself.

Trade Union licenses represent registered gaming assistants employed in or at a gaming site. Gaming assistant licenses are split into two of their own sections, the first being an individual who is employed in the conduct, management or operation of a lottery scheme or gaming site and who exercises a significant level of decision-making authority. The second license is exactly the same, except it caters to those who do not have any decision-making authority.

How to apply, and what you need to do to acquire a license

As mentioned, each different type of license offered by the AGCO has a different route to follow.

If you're applying for a license as an operator, the registration fee is $100,000 per site, per year. Operators, as well as gaming-related and non-gaming-related suppliers must state which type of sectors they're applying to be registered in, those being either the Commercial Sector, Charitable Sector or Lottery Sector. Registration fees must be submitted alongside the application for licensing.

In terms of gaming-related applications, these are split into two sections of their own. The first of which relates to manufacturers who create hardware for casinos. The fee applicable to such gaming-related suppliers is $15,000 per year. The second is relative to services suppliers, covering those who distribute gaming-related equipment, those that coordinate and/or facilitate lottery schemes on behalf of charities, and so on. A fee of $3,000 per year is applicable here.

Non-gaming-related suppliers may be exempt from the requirement to hold a license as a Non-Gaming-Related Supplier if the value of the goods supplied in a 12 month period is $750,000 or less, and if the OLG has carried out a due diligence investigation of the business. Furthermore, if the business is regulated by the Government of Ontario or Canada, this may also exemplify them from registering. However, should a person or business need to apply for licensing, fees stand at $2,000 per year.

If you're a Trade Union and intend to represent registered gaming assistants, registration fees for such stand at $2,000 per year. Gaming assistants may need to be registered first with the AGCO if they are to work in a casino or slot machine facility. More specifically, if any of the following responsibilities are given as part of regular work duties, a gaming assistant needs to be registered:

  • Facilitate game play
  • Access, repair or modify gaming-related equipment or systems
  • Monitor, handle or protect gaming-related assets or money
  • Work primarily in a sensitive area of the gaming site, for example surveillance
  • Control or supervise access to the property
  • Access gaming floor as part of regular work duties
  • Establish the policy or strategic direction of the organisation or gaming site

As mentioned previously, there are two types of gaming assistant licenses, with the first including such job titles as Table Game Managers, Slot Managers, Food and Beverage Supervisors, Cage and Coin Supervisors, Security and Surveillance Managers and Supervisors, Casino Executives, Bingo Hall Managers and Lottery Retail Managers. Fees for Category 1 Gaming Assistants are $300 per year. For Category 2 Gaming Assistants, the fees are $165 per year, and such licenses cover job titles such as Croupiers, Dealers, Cashiers, Bingo Callers, Slot Technicians and Attendants, and Security Guards.

All relative forms and information relating to applications and regulations can be found via the AGCO website, and such licenses must be acquired before any sort of business begins operating.

Head Office

  • OLG Prize Centre
  • 20 Dundas St W
  • Toronto
  • ON M5G 2C2
  • Canada
  • Website: www.olg.ca