New Torstar ownership wants to move into online gambling

We are not sure if this falls under the Atkinson Principles or not, but the new ownership group behind Torstar Corporation and the Toronto Star are taking the media company in an entirely new direction: online gaming.

Torstar is set to launch an online casino betting brand this year in the regulated Ontario online gaming market.

“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 at Torstar, in a press release. “As an Ontario-based media business and trusted brand for more than 128 years, we believe Torstar will provide a unique and responsible gaming brand that creates new jobs, offers growth for the Ontario economy and generates new tax revenue to help support important programs in our province.”

Last August, Torstar was purchased by NordStar Capital LP, a private investment firm owned by Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett. It officially acquired Torstar on August 5, 2020.

According to the press information, the new ownership group has assembled a crack team to head up its new “iGaming” division including Don Bourgeois, former General Counsel for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

The Ontario government has pledged to introduce legislation that would license private operators in the province’s online gaming market. It would be overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

“There are two reasons for our entry into this field,” said Paul Rivett, chair and co-owner of Torstar. “First, 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. Second, doing this as part of Torstar will help support the growth and expansion of quality, community-based journalism.”

According to the press release, the launch is pending approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and the setting of a launch date by the Ontario government.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO