William Hill is winding down its current operations in the Ontario market for the time being, as it prepares to apply for a license in the Canadian province.

The betting giant sent an email to affiliates confirming that it is working on a license application with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and will not be accepting new registrations from Ontario until then.

The email that William Hill sent to affiliates asked them not to send any traffic from Ontario to any of its gaming properties. The reason behind this is that one of the conditions of applying for the coveted Ontario online gambling license is that prospective operators have to stop all their marketing efforts to players in the province until they receive their license.

Operators hoping to get the Ontario license also have to end all association with any other company that operates in an unregulated way in the province – or risk being blacklisted by the regulatory authorities.

The email from William Hill added that while there was not a fixed date for the completion of the application, the company expected to return to the market in a matter of months, adding that it would remain active in the rest of Canada – excluding the province of Ontario – for the time being.

Ontario is currently the only province in Canada that issues online gambling licenses to third-party operators.

William Hill’s operations in Ontario are still under the control of the William Hill business. Its previous owners, Caesars Entertainment, are still holding on to the US-facing elements of the business after it was sold to 888 in April.

The company acquired William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars for $2.35bn and announced the group’s new leadership team. 888 chair Lord Mendelsohn noted that the combined business will be one of the world’s largest online gambling operators.

888 also recently launched its own sportsbook and igaming brands in Ontario, after they obtained their own license from AGCO.

Its parent company 888 Holdings recently announced that it was going to be making cuts to offset financial losses. One of these cuts includes shutting down the Mr Green Sportsbook in the UK next month. Sportsbook operations elsewhere will not be affected.

888 saw a drop in revenue of more than 13 per cent across the first half of the year as a direct result of the new responsible gaming measures it introduced.

However, the company’s expansion continues apace, with 888 launching in four major African markets – Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia – within the last six months.

888 is also growing in the US and plans to return to the Dutch market by the fourth quarter of 2022.

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