Ontario Online Gambling Sites Must Pass RG Checks to Launch

Responsible Gambling Council will work with Ontario iGaming regulator to make sure all online poker rooms, casinos, & sportsbooks in Ontario meet responsible gaming requirements before going live.
An illustration of a desk with a laptop, seen from above. Next to the computer is a coffee, glasses, pencil, planner, mobile phone, & papers. On top of the screen is a checklist, representing the RG checks Ontario iGaming operators must meet before launch
March 30, 2022

RG Check is a clear & tangible signal of the government’s commitment to making public protection & sustainable play a priority & a key part of creating a culture of responsible gambling here in Ontario.The Responsible Gambling Council of Canada (RGC) has announced that it’s working with Ontario regulators — the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario (iGO) — to ensure all online poker rooms, casinos, and sportsbooks in Ontario take part in the council’s RG Check Accreditation Program.

As per the press release, the “RG Check Accreditation Program has been embedded into the requirements for all iGaming operators entering the Ontario marketplace by iGaming Ontario” — meaning that all prospective iGaming operators who are awarded a license to operate in the province have to meet the requirements as set out within the RG Check Accreditation Program.

The RG Check Accreditation Program is already a requirement that all land-based casinos in Ontario have to undertake if they want to retain their licenses. The same will now be said of all Ontario online gambling.

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with RGC on this initiative,” said Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario said via press release. “The RG Check program is comprised of nine standards and 48 criteria that measure the scope and effectiveness of operators’ RG programming in areas such as site and product design, marketing communications, and assisting players who may be experiencing harm from gambling. This allows Ontarians to play with confidence.”

Responsible Gaming (RG) Checks for Ontario iGaming Operators Include:

  • Responsible Gambling Policy, Strategy, and Culture: The operator must show awareness of the harms caused by gambling as well as “prevention and mitigation” measures.
  • Self-Exclusion: A robust way for players to self-exclude and the way in which that is communicated to players must be demonstrated.
  • Decision Making: A clear way of communicating the risks associated with certain games is paramount. Players must be able to understand the odds and risks associated with each game type.
  • Marketing Communications: All marketing must be clear, truthful, and not mislead players.
  • Accounts and Payment: Account registration and money services are run in a “responsible manner.”
  • Employee Training: All employees must understand the importance of responsible gambling.
  • Problem Gambling: Help for players who may be suffering from gambling addiction is “available, systematically provided and documented.”
  • Site and Product Design: This needs to encourage low-risk play behavior and avoid “extended, continuous, and impulsive” designs that encourage play.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: The operator must work with stakeholders to improve and address the harms associated with gambling.

Click here for more information on the comprehensive responsible gaming measures that all iGaming operators in Ontario must abide by.

The RG Check symbol is a demonstration to all that the operator is committed to and has strong gambling safeguards in placeThe RG Check Accreditation Program is designed to help operators “evaluate, monitor and manage all aspects of their responsible gambling strategy.” Operators will receive a roadmap to implementing RG standards across their products and offers. In addition, the program ensures operators have “rigorous safeguards that protect players and foster a sustainable player base.” The accreditation is valid for a three-year period, at which point operators may apply for reaccreditation.

“RG Check is a clear and tangible signal of the government’s commitment to making public protection and sustainable play a priority and a key part of creating a culture of responsible gambling here in Ontario,” said Shelley White, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council via press release. “RG Check is a leading responsible gambling accreditation that is used by jurisdictions around the world. The RG Check symbol is a demonstration to all that the operator is committed to and has strong gambling safeguards in place.”

Ontario iGaming RG Check Accreditation Program: At A Glance

  • Contains 9 standards and 48 criteria that must be met in order to receive accreditation.
  • Accreditation lasts three years.
  • Provides an RG framework for operators to follow.
  • All land-based and online gambling operators in Ontario must meet the RG requirements set out in the program in order to obtain a license for the province.

“The RG Check team is excited to make a contribution to a comprehensive RG framework with clear, evidence-based, and impactful player protection measures that minimize potential harms associated with gambling,” said Tracy Parker, Director, Standards, and Accreditation from the RGC added. “A consistent accreditation program for all operators will help ensure a common approach to monitoring and assessment and provide a fair and transparent process. The collaborative approach of RG Check will help support continuous improvement in Ontario.”

The RGC has added that it looks forward to “continuing its collaborative work with iGO and the government on the implementation of the RG Check iGaming accreditation program”. The RGC also hint that they will work on a public education campaign on the dangers of gambling as well as adding additional RG measures on an ad-hoc basis.

Learn more in our complete guide to Ontario online casinos »

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500