1. What is a standards-based regulatory approach?
A standards-based approach shifts the regulatory focus from requiring registrants to comply with a prescriptive set of rules and regulations and instead, sets standards or outcomes (and in some cases, requirements) that a registrant must achieve. This approach allows regulated entities the flexibility to manage their businesses within a broad set of parameters and to adjust and adapt their control environments as situations change.
This is a fundamental change to the AGCO’s approach to regulation that is aimed at delivering a more effective regulatory structure, based on the achievement of regulatory objectives or outcomes as opposed to prescriptive rules, and an improved assurance of compliance by allowing the AGCO to more effectively target resources to areas of higher risk.
2. What are the benefits of a standards-based regulatory approach?
The benefits of a standards-based approach to gaming regulation include:
- Increased efficiencies and greater flexibility for gaming operators to respond to changing market conditions while continuing to meet regulatory objectives.
- Strong proactive compliance culture and monitoring of performance by gaming operators against their own controls.
- More effective regulatory structure that is geared to the achievement of results or outcomes and regulatory oversight focusing on high impact areas of concern.
3. Who is responsible for establishing the new standards?
The standards are established by the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming; however, they are developed in collaboration with key gaming industry stakeholders, public interest groups and governmental partners and will be implemented across each sector based on a comprehensive and systematic risk assessment methodology. Risk assessments will be conducted periodically to ensure continued relevance, and that the highest standards for integrity for gaming in Ontario are maintained.
4. Will the transition to standards involve some form of “de-regulation”?
The standards-based approach is not about reducing expectations or introducing a “lighter” form of regulation. It is about providing regulated entities with greater flexibility and allowing the AGCO to focus its resources on key risks. Risk-based and standards-based approaches are common across many regulated sectors and reflect best practice thinking about effective regulation.
In a 2011 value-for-money audit, Ontario’s Auditor General commended the AGCO for having one of the most effective regulatory regimes in North America, and expressed strong support for the AGCO’s ongoing transition away from a “command and control” model to a more risk-based regulatory approach.
5. Why are there more than one set of standards? Do the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming replace the others?
The AGCO is in a transitionary stage, and is phasing in the new “outcome-based” standards established in April 2013 gradually across all gaming sectors. Until such time as gaming sites are in a position to transition to the new regulatory approach, they will comply with existing sector-specific standards. For a list of standards that apply to each gaming sector (i.e. charitable, commercial, OLG lotteries), please see the Registrar’s Standards page of the AGCO’s website.