Torstar Diversifying into the Regulated Ontario Online Gambling

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Hamilton Spectator, the owner of Toronto Star announced on Monday plans of launching an online casino in Ontario this year. In a press release, Torstar’s chief corporate development officer said that the company would be participating in the regulated Ontario online gaming market.

Toronto Star was founded in 1892; however, Torstar was recently acquired by an investment company known as Nordstar. The company aimed to focus on providing world-class journalism to be in line with Star’s history.

Since its founding, Toronto Star articulated principles that seek to advance worker protections, civil liberties, among other social justice issues. However, the current Torstar owner says that the new revenue stream will help the company continues with the advancement of those principles.

According to Ontario government data, the Ontarians spend $500 million in a year gambling on foreign websites where legal regulation and scrutiny is less. Torstar believes that revenue could stimulate the Ontario economy.

Currently, only the Ontario government can conduct online gambling, but due to the expanding market size, the province has opened the door for companies to join. Torstar says that its plans of joining are in line with those of the government.

As Torstar seeks to diversify its revenue model, it isn’t clear the revenue that the new venture will generate. The move to enter into online gambling is the latest venture Torstar makes beyond the realm of the newspaper. In November, the company established a parcel delivery service, and in January, in a joint venture with Golf Town purchased SCOREGolf.

However, the plan is being criticized by several people, including Richmond Hill councilor Tom Muench. Muench said that such a move would be critical in the functioning of a healthy democracy. He added that it would also be difficult maintaining a strong independent media industry.

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