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November 28, 2022
The Ontario government could have avoided regulatory missteps by honouring its duty to consult with First Nations. Instead, it acted unilaterally.
Mere months after launching its iGaming market, the government of Ontario initiated regulation changes driven by weaknesses in its model. The province quickly learned that its overreliance on gaming operators for policy input was little more than a risky wager, and now is seeking to backtrack. While this illustrates fissures in Ontario’s approach to gaming, it also demonstrates the importance of meaningful consultation and the consequences of unilateral decision-making.
When the province first launched iGaming Ontario – a subsidiary of its gaming regulator – government officials touted the new organization as a means of challenging the “grey market” for online betting and conducting gaming in a responsible way. With an abundance of confidence, provincial officials did not offer consultation to Indigenous governments affected by the decision. Instead, it moved forward with a “we know best” approach.
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