‘Please Don’t Stop’: Industry Throws Massive Support Behind Latest Canadian Gaming Summit

The Canadian Gaming Summit, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 18-20, concluded with a record-breaking attendance of 3,000 participants and significant industry backing.

Notable guests included Alberta’s Minister of Service and Red Tape Reduction, Dale Nally, who announced the province’s official plans to open the market, and Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Gaming, Stan Cho, who oversees the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

Tony Plaskow, Commercial Director of Black Cow Technology, remarked on the event’s expansion, tying it to the progress within the Canadian gambling industry. “I’ve been coming to the Canadian Gaming Summit for a long time – about 10 years – and back then, it was really just lotteries that we would meet because there was no commercial market in Ontario. Now, obviously, that’s changed quite a lot.”

The conference segment, featuring over 150 expert speakers had numerous sessions reaching standing-room capacity. The content included a wide range of panels, starting with opening remarks from OLG President & CEO Duncan Hannay, and featuring CEOs of crown corporations such as BCLC, Loto-Québec, and Atlantic Lottery

Besides appearing on a multitude of panels to lend the event a truly pan-Canadian perspective, crown corporations also occupied a dedicated lounge on the expo floor, with representatives from BCLC, OLG, Loto-Québec, AGLC, MBLL, ALC, and LGS. Kevin deBruykere, Director of AML and Investigations at BCLC, commented on the importance of ‘The Crown Corps Speak: Competition, Enforcement, and Growth in Canadian Gaming’ panel: “The value, frankly, is all of them coming together.” Speaking about the newly-introduced lounge, he added: “This is an opportunity for the crowns to reinforce their position in the industry.”

The event also featured regulators reflecting on the recent years of regulated Ontario, with participation from representatives of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), OLG and iGamingOntario.

Scott Vanderwel, CEO of PointsBet Canada, said: “One panel that stood out for me was the conversation with Martha, Karin, and Duncan. I think it was very unique to have a stage with the three most influential leaders from a regulatory, compliance, and rule-setting perspective in Ontario together.”

Tony Plaskow, Commercial Director at Black Cow Technology, emphasized the diverse perspectives accessible to attendees at the event. “What you guys have put on here is great because you show both sides – you show the provincial governments who have their own stances and then you’ve got the commercial market, which has been a massive success.”

Another standout moment of the event was the keynote interview featuring President and CEO of BCSlots, Brian Christopher, conducted by Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) President & CEO, Paul Burns. The steamer expressed gratitude for the platform the event provided to raise awareness about the impact of social influencers, highlighting an area where Canada has room for improvement. “I’ve been meeting with casinos across the country at this event, which is really important for our business.”

Board Member and Chief Strategy Officer at Low6, Josh Turk, also highlighted the scope of the event. “It’s fantastic to see not just North American operators attend these events. I’m also seeing many from Europe, the UK, and even Latin America, so you really get a broad perspective of not just what’s happening locally in Canada, but also across the world.”

Among the 3,000 attendees, over 1,100 represented local and global operators, including companies such as FanDuel, Sports Interaction, Flutter International, Pinnacle, KaizenGaming, PENN Entertainment, PokerStars, theScore, and others.

Reflecting on the quality of the event, Kriss Abbott, Country Manager, Canada (Regulated Markets) at Stake, said: “We have attended multiple SBC events in the past, including this one last year, which was the first year it belonged to SBC. They have always been positive experiences, well-organized from the app and all the communication beforehand. 

“Meeting all the attendees is a huge positive in our industry, enabling us to learn and engage, particularly during the panel sessions, which are my favorite part.”

Turk added: “The floor was busy. Packed. The conference sessions were overflowing at times. Hopefully, it’s not seen as a negative, but rather a sign of immense interest. This overflow was evident at every event I attended, not just on the floor, but also during the breakfast, and networking parties, all of which were consistently at full capacity.”

The event also featured the pre-day Player Protection Symposium and diverse meetups such as the Global Gaming Women Breakfast, First Nations Breakfast, and African Americans in Gaming, complemented by evening networking events hosted at Real Sports Bar and Lavelle. Rivalry’s Global Marketing Director, Britt Doll, said: “It’s a bit of a rare opportunity to meet people in person very casually, in a relaxed setting, and have meaningful conversations.”

Summarizing the prospects of this event moving forward, the PointsBet Canada CEO noted: “The biggest opportunity and, at the same time, challenge in Canada right now is that we’re not done yet. Ontario represents about half of the Canadian population, which is significant. However, Canada has many provinces, and the fact that half of the Canadian population only has the government-provided option still presents an opportunity.”

Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming 28th edition of the Canadian Gaming Summit.

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