Torstar Corp to launch made-in-Ontario online casino betting brand.
‘The rich get richer!’, so the old saying goes. That certainly appears to be the plan for media giant Torstar Corp, owner of major newspapers Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, and others. On Monday, the group announced intentions to launch its own internet casino brand later this year. The news comes on the heels of new ownership for the company, alongside probable legislation that could finally bring competition to Ontario’s iGaming market.
Torstar has long been controlled by a trust, owned by the same family names that established the Toronto Star back in 1892. Jut recently, investment firm Nordstar Capital acquired Torstar. At that time, the new owner’s promised to carry on the century-old tradition of producing, “world-class journalism befitting the Star’s storied history.”
Dating back to its founding, Torstar has clung strong to upholding the Atkinson Principles; a series of principles anchored on the belief that people should come first, and that “a progressive newspaper should contribute to the advancement of society through the pursuit of social, economic and political reforms”.
In an effort to maintain—and help fund—that time-honored tradition, its new owners are looking for additional revenue. The executive staff believes branching out into online casino gaming is the logical route.
Plan Contingent on Shift in Ontario Gaming Regulations
The company has a big job ahead. No doubt individual offices are already being tasked with seeking out partnerships, lining up webmasters, software vendors and seasoned betting operators to construct and oversee the brand’s first venture into the Canadian gambling market. But no signatures will be gracing dotted lines just yet, as the entire plan is contingent on upcoming changes to the regulatory landscape for iGaming in Ontario.
At present, Ontario’s provincial government is the only entity authorized to conduct internet betting. The latest provincial budget plan seeks to change that. Language in the budget is opening a window to expansion, wherein individual operators would be permitted to obtain a license to operate in a competitive marketplace. If and when that occurs, Torstar will be poised to capitalize.
“We are excited at the prospect of participating in a regulated online Ontario gaming market with a made-in-Ontario product,” said Corey Goodman, Chief Corporate Development Officer for Torstar. He’s not the only one with an enthusiastic vision of the brand’s future.
Torstar co-owner Paul Rivett is especially pleased with the plan. He shared his reasoning that a locally-owned online casino will benefit everyone in the community.
“We want to ensure the new marketplace is well represented with a Canadian, Ontario-based gaming brand so that more of our players’ entertainment dollars stay in our province,” he said. Rivett also expressed his belief that, “Doing this as part of Torstar will help support the growth and expansion of quality community-based journalism.”
A key incentive cited by the local media giant is government data that estimates Ontarians are spending approximately $500 million each year gambling online. The vast bulk of those dollars are not going to Ontario’s home-grown provincial gambling website, PlayOLG, but rather to grey-market websites that operate overseas. Torstar agrees with the provincial government that opening the market to competition among Ontario online casino betting operators is the key to attracting local online bettors, to locally regulated websites.
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