Ontario Sports Betting and iGaming Regulator Has New Chief

Posted on: August 23, 2023, 03:05h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2023, 11:25h.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has named Dr. Karin Schnarr as the incoming CEO. The regulator’s board of directors made the announcement. Dr. Schnarr will officially take the role on September 18, according to a release by the AGCO.

Dr. Karin Schnarr, seen in the publicity photo, above has been named the new CEO of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. (Image: wlu.ca)

“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,” the release stated. “Recently, Karin served as Chair of the Ontario Government’s Task Force on Women and the Economy.”

In a LinkedIn post, Dr. Schnarr said she was “honored” and “excited” to join AGCO as the new CEO and Registrar.

Dr. Schnarr will replace AGCO CEO Tom Mungham.

“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,” posted Schnarr. “[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.”

Outgoing AGCO CEO Tom Mungham’s retirement was announced in March.

Why This Matters

The announcement of Dr. Schnarr comes as Ontario’s iGaming sector continues to grow. The AGCO regulates sports betting sites in Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province, and according to AGCO, the only competitive market for online sports betting.

As previously pointed out by Casino.org, more than 60 online casinos and betting sites are operating with legal licenses in Ontario. IGaming Ontario reported more than $35 billion in total wagers since the sector launched in April 2022.

Dr. Schnarr takes the helm amid a time of spectacular growth, and with that growth comes growing pains. The boom in sports betting in Ontario led to a surge in advertising by sports betting sites and online casinos. There are concerns by some Ontario residents about the increased number of ads and the potential effect on younger viewers seeing those ads.

The AGCO has proposed a ban on athletes and celebrities in iGaming ads. A decision on that proposal has not been made public.

It’s possible the appointment of Dr. Schnarr could lead to a final decision on the advertising proposal.

AGCO Turnover

In addition to a new CEO, there have been a series of personnel changes at AGCO and IGaming Ontario, which is the entity legally responsible for overseeing the province’s sports betting and internet casino gambling market. Essentially, IGO is a subsidiary of the AGCO.

Just last month, IGO chair Dave Forestell took that same role at AGCO. Forestell took over from AGCO chair Lalit Aggarwal, who stepped down in July. IGO replaced Forestell with Heidi Reinhardt, who has been a member of AGCO’s board of directors since 2020, according to a release from IGO.

“iGaming Ontario welcomes Ms. Reinhart and extends a sincere thank you to Mr. Forestell for his leadership of this agency from its inception,” iGO said in its release.