AGCO Fines Against Ontario Gambling Operators Top $600,000 In 18 Months

Written By Matthew Lomon on November 20, 2023
AGCO logo next to an old school calculator on light blue background for a story about AGCO Fines Against Ontario Gambling Operators Topping $600,000 In 18 Months

PointsBet Canada is just the latest operator to receive a hefty fine from Ontario’s provincial gaming authority. Total fines levied on gambling operators by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario now exceeds $600,000 in the last 18 months.

Recently, the AGCO levied $150,000 in fines against PointsBet Canada for breaching sections of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming.

The fine stems from a case where one player lost more than $500,000 in less than three months with “no interventions” from the site.

In particular, the fine relates to several alleged responsible gambling-related violations, including failure to “appropriately intervene and provide assistance to a player who was potentially experiencing gambling harms.”

It is the second fine PointsBet Canada has been handed by the AGCO. In May of 2022, one month after the online gambling market opened, the AGCO levied $78,000 in total fines to BetMGM Canada ($48,000) and PointsBet Canada ($30,000) for infractions of the AGCO’s advertising and inducement rules.

PointsBet player’s account flagged as ‘possibly high-risk’

In the most recent case, a string of unusual actions by the owner of the PointsBet account in question set off alarm bells to the AGCO. Per the regulator, this involved making repeated withdrawal cancellations as a result of incurring significant losses.

However, the AGCO said that PointsBet provided no interventions during this period of curious activity.

Overall, the Australia-based casino and sportsbook stands accused of violating at least four of the registrar’s standards. The additional misdeeds also included:

  • Failing to enforce the required 24-hour cooling-off period when the player cancelled their per-day deposit limit
  • Communicating gambling inducements, bonuses, or credits through direct advertising without active player consent
  • Failing to ensure that employees understood the importance of responsible gambling and were adequately trained to respond appropriately to, and assist, players who may be experiencing harm from gambling

The AGCO’s recently appointed CEO and Registrar Dr. Karin Schnarr, talked about operator responsibility in the same statement:

“In Ontario, iGaming operators have an obligation to proactively monitor their patrons’ play for signs of high-risk gambling, and to take appropriate actions to intervene and reduce the potential for gambling related harms.

“The AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by holding all registered operators to these high standards.”

PointsBet retains the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to an independent tribunal.

AGCO has levied $608,000 in gambling-related fines in 18 months

Functioning under new leadership, the AGCO continues to crack down on rule violations.

By PlayCanada’s count, the AGCO has now delivered fines on seven occasions since Ontario’s legal online gambling market opened on April 4, 2022. Altogether, PointsBet’s fine, plus fines to other online gambling operators have reached a total of $608,000.

In September, Casino Woodbine earned an $80,000 penalty following allegations of a cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme. A Registrar’s review determined a failure to “detect or take appropriate action on available information” to prevent the illicit behaviour.

In August, online casino operator Apollo Entertainment received a $100,000 fine for responsible-gambling related improprieties. A player lost $2-plus million in under four months without receiving interventions from the gaming site operator for that period.

In June, the AGCO fined BV Gaming and Fitzdares Canada each $15,000 for offering bets on major junior hockey. The two Ontario sportsbooks stand accused of taking “numerous” wagers on Canadian Hockey League games during the 2022-23 season.

In April, the AGCO handed out a total of $70,000 in fines to three online casino operators.  ComeOnConquestador, and LeoVegas allegedly provided games on their sites “not approved by the AGCO Registrar nor certified by an Independent Testing Laboratory registered by the Registrar.”

In July of 2022, the AGCO slapped DraftKings with a $100,000 fine. DK was alleged to have broken AGCO policies on advertised inducements.

As previously mentioned, in May of 2022, BetMGM and PointsBet were hit with a total of $78,000 in fines between the two of them for advertising rule infractions.

Photo by PlayCanada
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Matthew Lomon

Matthew Lomon has been a contributor at Catena Media’s network of regional sites since July 2022. He first broke into covering the legal North American gambling industry with PlayCanada. Since then, Matthew's reporting has extended to PlayMichigan, PlayPennsylvania, and PlayIllinois. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Matthew is an avid (bordering on fanatic) sports fan.

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