New Ontario AGCO Licence

Pariplay, Quickspin, Blueprint Gaming, and Relax Gaming announce new Ontario AGCO licence approval joining Light & Wonder, Play’n GO & 888 Gaming! (Image from unsplash.com)

On Monday the grand opening of the Ontario iGaming market will mark the beginning of a new era for online casino enthusiasts in Canada’s most populated province. And it seems there is now a mad rush for software providers to officially pick up their AGCO approved license.

Today alone Pariplay, Quickspin (owned by Playtech), Blueprint Gaming, and Relax Gaming announced that they now have the correct licensing to officially supply casino games to Ontario’s newly established Canadian online casinos. These new entrants now join the likes of Evolution, Play’n GO, Scientific Games (Light & Wonder), and 888 Gaming.

While these brands are some of the biggest developers in iGaming, the list of approved software providers available to Ontario online casinos is still thin. In comparison, European online casinos usually host games from 30 to 50 software providers on average.

However, if we go by the newly established US iGaming markets in Michigan and Pennsylvania, which came online in 2021 and 2019 respectively, both markets have surpassed the $1 billion mark in revenue, and both still operate with less than 10% of the software providers found in European markets.

Yet, these US casinos have no competition as US citizens in these states have few alternative options, while Ontario players can still play at MGA and Curacao licensed casinos offering a far more diverse selection of games. For the Ontario market to become successful, faster approval rates would be wise.

That being said, the AGCO can only approve software providers if they apply for a license, and some may not feel it is in their best interest because the rules require developers can guarantee their games will not be available to non-AGCO licensed casinos or risk losing the license, a fine, or both. Albeit, there is still plenty of time ahead to create a more attractive iGaming sphere to persuade Ontario citizens to sign up for casinos that operate under the provincial consumer rights laws designed to protect Canadian casino players.

Meanwhile, influential game developers such as Playtech, Pragmatic Play, Wazdan, NetEnt, BTG, and Red Tiger remain elusive with no indications as to ‘if’ or ‘when’ these brands will enter the Ontario market. That said, it is likely only a matter of time before Playtech, Red Tiger Gaming and NetEnt make an entrance. Quickspin is a Playtech company, while Red Tiger and NetEnt fall under Evolution, which has long served Canadian gamblers with live casino games.

Is this enough? With only the weekend between now and the opening of the Ontario iGaming market, the grand opening is set. It will feature only a handful of software providers holding an approved licence to begin with. However, it is likely more big name brands will make announcements over the weekend, throughout next week, and over the course of April. After all, it is the software providers that make the online casino market so attractive offering their extensive library of games to online casinos via B2B deals, which are then hosted on the customer facing casino platform offered to clientele as part of the casino’s B2C services.

Current B2B & B2C Ontario AGCO Licence agreements in place

For the new Ontario AGCO licenced market to operate, it takes a mix of B2B and B2C iGaming companies to attract new players. Already we are seeing quite a diverse array of companies popular in Europe under MGA and UKGC licensing and those operating across newly-regulated states in the USA compete in Canada.

Aside from the obvious software provider deals with online casino platforms, B2B software tech partners already approved include, Bragg, Kindred, Scientific Games (Light & Wonder), PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive, and GGPoker. These companies will offer tech solutions such as casino aggregator platforms, game delivery systems, and sports betting algorithms.

Meanwhile, over in the B2C sphere, we can confirm that BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, LeoVegas, Royal Panda, Unibet, and 888 Casino will offer online casinos and sports betting. These ‘casino & sportsbooks’ will become directly available to Ontario citizens looking to sign up as members and make deposits under the protection of the Ontario iGaming framework. It is also worth noting that these casinos brands use bespoke/in-house casino platforms, and therefore will likely only involve themselves with tech partners for sports betting solutions. In the meantime, they will surely connect with the likes of PariPlay, Play’n GO, Quickspin, Blueprint Gaming, Relax Gaming, and Evolution to deliver a diverse selection of branded casino games to new members.

Which brands do we recognise? From our online casino reviews covering brands operating under MGA and UKGC licences, LeoVegas and 888 Casino are the most recognisable, while Royal Panda is also a LeoVegas operation. Other casinos that will operate under the new Ontario AGCO licence we also recognise are those currently operating in the US, such as BetMGM, Unibet, Caesars and DraftKings.