DraftKings Fined $100K By AGCO For Alleged Infractions In Ontario

Written By Robyn McNeil on July 4, 2022
AGCO fines DraftKings for alleged ad infractions in Ontario online gambling market. Red card, 'You're out!'

DraftKings’ entry into Ontario’s online sports betting and casino market has been more than a bit bumpy.

Initially late to the party, DraftKings’ long-awaited launch suffered technical and customer support issues. Six weeks later, the regulator announced its largest fine yet levied on DraftKings for alleged advertising and inducement infractions.

This new fine comes after the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission levied its first fines on BetMGM and PointsBet Canada. In both of those cases, similar advertising-related infractions led to monetary penalties.

AGCO operator fines protect public, Ontario online gambling

According to a June 30th statement, AGCO levied the fine to protect the public interest. The intention is also to maintain the integrity of Ontario’s online gambling market.

“Contrary to Standard 2.05, between May 19, 2022, and May 31, 2022, Crown DK CAN Ltd posted or aired multiple broad gambling inducements that included inducements of boosted 2:1 odds. The promotion was distributed widely via television and social media channels. DraftKings Inc. (DE) is the parent company of Crown DK CAN Ltd.

The statement followed:

“The Standards were put in place to protect Ontarians. They include clear restrictions on the advertising of inducements, bonuses or credits, except when they are on an operator’s site, or through direct advertising and marketing issued after receiving active player consent (Standard 2.05).”

Ontario strictly prohibits broad public advertising of bonuses and other gambling inducements. It seems AGCO is now taking concrete steps to hammer the prohibition home.

Tom Mungham, the AGCO “s CEO and Registrar, confirmed as much in the statement:

“The AGCO will continue to monitor the activities of all registered operators and hold them to high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity. It is in the public interest that we ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”

DraftKings Ontario online wagering entry not a smooth move

Before launch, DraftKings president Matt Kalish speculated that the company would slip seamlessly into the Ontario online betting ecosystem. At the time, Kalish was in conversation with The Parleh’s Steve McAllister for the Toronto Star:

“We launched as soon as we could. We build our product to move into each (new) jurisdiction in a smooth way that the customer won’t notice and we think our offering will be among the best in class on Day 1.”

Unfortunately, it once again seems that’s not the case.

However, any registered operator who receives a monetary penalty from the AGCO has the right to appeal the action to an appeal tribunal. The tribunal is an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.

PlayCanada reached out to DraftKings to see if an appeal is in the works. Over the weekend, DraftKings offered a statement via an external communications partner in Ontario:

“We are committed to complying with all applicable regulations in every jurisdiction in which we operate. Upon being informed of the potential issue shortly after our launch, we took immediate action to remove the assets in question.”

PlayCanada will update the story should new details emerge.

Photo by Rui Alexandre Araujo
Robyn McNeil Avatar
Written by
Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

View all posts by Robyn McNeil
Privacy Policy