New Chief appointed as Ontario Sports Betting and iGaming Regulator
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New Chief appointed as Ontario Sports Betting and iGaming Regulator

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recently appointed a new Chief Executive Officer and Registrar

The regulator's board of directors announced the appointment of Dr. Karin Schnarr as the incoming CEO of AGCO

Dr. Schnarr assumed this role on September 18th, 2023, replacing Tom Mungham who announced his intention to resign from the position back in March of this year. 

Having served in academic, private-sector, and public-sector consulting positions, Dr. Schnarr brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role.  

In this regard, a press release by the AGCO stated the following: 

“Karin has held numerous senior roles in the Government of Ontario, including as Chief of Staff to ministers in multiple portfolios, during which time she guided the development of public policy, legislation, and regulations related to key government priorities. Recently, Karin served as Chair of the Ontario Government’s Task Force on Women and the Economy.” 

In addition to this, Dr. Schnarr has held some other notable positions prior to her appointment to this new role. These include the position of Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University.  

Here, she also held the role of Director of MBA and BBA Programs, in addition to her participation in the Board of Governors and Senate at the University. 

The press release went on to state the following regarding Dr. Schnarr’s credentials

“Dr. Schnarr is a seasoned relationship builder within organizations, across government ministries and agencies, and with external partners and stakeholders. She has extensive Board of Directors and governance experience across multiple sectors and industries.” 

In light of this, not only has Dr. Schnarr acquired highly reputable academic achievements but has also held key positions within the Government of Ontario, making her fully equipped for this new role as CEO of the AGCO. 

The AGCO concluded their press release by stating: 

“The AGCO and its Board of Directors are excited to welcome Dr. Schnarr to the organization and extend their sincere gratitude and appreciation to AGCO’s outgoing CEO and Registrar, Tom Mungham, who announced his intention to retire from the agency in March 2023.” 

In reaction to her appointment as new CEO and Registrar of AGCO, Dr. Schnarr stated the following: 

“My sincere thanks to the board for this opportunity – I am aware of the large shoes I will be filling of retiring AGCO CEO Tom Mungham. [I’m] excited to be joining a strong and vibrant organization that works every day to ensure consumer protection, efficient business practices, and a people-first focus.” 

Who is the AGCO? 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is a provincial regulating agency that is responsible for a number of sectors within the province of Ontario. 

This corporation falls under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019. 

The sectors that are under the jurisdiction of the AGCO include the following: 

  • Lottery and Gambling 

  • Cannabis retail stores 

  • Alcohol 

  • Horse Racing 

In accordance with this, the AGCO administers the following: 

  • The Liquor License and Control Act, 2019 

  • The Gaming Control Act, 1992 

  • The Horse Racing License Act, 2015 

  • The Cannabis License Act, 2018 

  • The charity lottery licensing Order-in-Council 1413/08 

With the public’s interest as their primary focus, this provincial regulatory agency reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG)

Proposal to ban athletes and celebrities in iGaming ads 

Prior to the announcement of Dr. Schnarr’s takeover role, a proposition was put in place to ban the inclusion of pro-athletes and celebrities in iGaming advertisements and marketing materials in Ontario.  

This proposition was fueled by the growing concerns of those who believe that the large increase in ads featuring athletes and celebrities promoting internet gambling would negatively influence minors who can be highly susceptible to influential figures.  

At the time of this new appointment, a final decision regarding the proposal for this ban had not yet been made public

Now, it is entirely possible that Dr. Schnarr will take over the role of making this final decision

The importance of this announcement 

The announcement of this newly appointed role comes at a moment in time when the iGaming sector in Ontario is rapidly growing

Currently, there are over 60 online gambling platforms operating in Ontario with fully regulated gaming licenses.  

Since the initial launch of the iGaming sector in Ontario, back in April 2022, iGaming Ontario (iGO), a subsidiary of the AGCO, has announced that more than $35 billion have been made in total wagers. 

This massive surge in online casinos and sports betting in Ontario brings with it a time of spectacular growth, but also one of uncertainty and potential hardships

Dr. Schnarr takes on a role of this magnitude during this time, and thus her appointment as CEO and Registrar of AGCO is one that should not be taken for granted. 

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
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A specialist in online casinos, she also loves proofreading. With her, it's impossible for mistakes to slip through the cracks. A true lover of letters, she binds articles and retouches them to make them as perfect as possible.

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