Ontario iGaming Prelaunch: Popular Slots May Be Pulled if Evolution Withdraws
Ahead of the 6 April iGaming Ontario market launch, rumours have been circulating that Evolution Gaming may be unavailable in Ontario slots sites.
The unconfirmed information from industry insiders is that Evolution Gaming is blocked in certain sections of the Canadian market. It is unclear whether this applies to the Live Dealer giant alone or whether it includes NetEnt and Red Tiger, two of the major slot companies owned by Evolution.
NetEnt is the software provider behind the popular Gonzo’s Quest, as well as the highly anticipated new slot game Knight Rider. The new video slot sees David Hasselhoff’s popular 80’s character Michael Knight returning to fight crime alongside his iconic sidekick/car, K.I.T.T.
Red Tiger is known for its superb Megaways slots. It launched NFT Megaways in September 2021, the world’s first NFT (non-fungible tokens) slot game featuring CryptoPunks digital artwork. Its latest release, Doggy Riches Megaways, features 6 incredible features in line with its engaging canine theme.
If the rumours of Evolution’s unavailability and possible withdrawal from Canadian markets are true, the news will come as a huge surprise, as Evolution seemed to strengthen its foothold in Canada by partnering with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) late last year. Evolution’s live casino services went live on the OLG’s online casino platform on 27 October 2021.
When Evolution announced its OLG launch in October, the North America Commercial Director at Evolution, Jeff Millar commented: “This latest signing further strengthens our position in Canada. From the start, our intention was to create a world-leading Live Casino studio with the capability and capacity to service all the Canadian lotteries.”
This leaves the question: what has happened since then?
Evolution already holds a Certificate of Registration as a supplier from the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario. It is unclear whether NetEnt, Red Tiger and Ezugi require separate licenses to operate in the province, or whether Evolution’s ownership includes them in its supplier agreement with Ontario.
The Certificate of Registration does, however, indicate Evolution’s intention to supply games within the province. As recently as January, Jeff Millar was quoted as saying, “Once Canada’s most-populous market launches, the ability to get access to the newest and best product that Evolution has, is really going to be apparent to Ontario players.”
Unless something drastic has happened in the interim, the rumours of Evolution’s withdrawal from Canadian markets seem unlikely. A far more likely explanation is that provinces that are in the process of regulating may be requiring suppliers and operators to block activities until their official launch dates. Essentially, players would simply need to wait until the April 6 iGaming Ontario launch to play new online slots from Evolution's brands.
We will keep you posted.
UPDATE: According to our sources, Evolution is still available on OLG.ca, although it may be blocked on other sites.