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- FEATURE: Ontario Online Gambling
Earlier this week, Rush Street Interactive (RSI) became the first US-based online casino and sports betting compan to receive the RG Check iGaming accreditation.
The accreditation, issued by the Responsible Gaming Council (RGC) covers RSI’s BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com sites. RSI is present in thirteen states in the US as well as in Colombia’s legal gaming market, and plans to enter the Ontario online gambling market, which will launch April 4. The RG Check accreditation is necessary for BetRivers real-money online casino and sportsbook to launch in Ontario.
RGC has existed since 2010 and has already established itself in various land based casinos, including all of Canada’s land based casinos. The non profit funds itself through these accreditations and has kept up with technology. They have recognized their original accreditation standard for land based casinos and meeting consumers face to face must evolve and adapt with online platforms.
To achieve iGaming accreditation through RGC the gaming site must meet or exceed 70% of their criteria with a 50% pass in each category. The standards for the check covers everything from operator awareness, to employee training, marketing, accounts management, and self exclusion.
The goal is clear; to make gambling safe and to maintain both player and operator’s boundaries.
RG Check is already a standard implemented in Ontario land based casinos. The same standard will apply to the province’s new iGaming market. With the April 4 launch date operators only have to have their application to RGC submitted. Operators like RSI are presumably lining up to get accredited as quickly as possible.
“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with RGC on this initiative,” said Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario. “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.”
I was initially suspicious of RG Check and who was funding it. However, their status as a non-profit, self-funding by way of application fees is reassuring. It appears to be a helpful layer of protection for Ontario as it tackles the gray market.
It will be interesting to watch operators’ success rate with their applications. On the one hand, it could just be another bit of regulatory red tape. On the other, if some operators find themselves failing the check, it could become another significant hurdle in Ontario’s iGaming timeline.