Casino Woodbine recently became the latest operator to face a monetary penalty from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The Ontario casino has been hit with an $80,000 fine following allegations of a cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme.
Shortly after the allegations of foul play, the Ontario Provincial Police unit embedded within the AGCO investigated. In April 2023, the task force found sufficient evidence to lay charges against five individuals.
Great Canadian Entertainment, which operates Casino Woodbine, has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), which is an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.
No word, yet, whether Great Canadian will appeal.
AGCO conducted compliance review following charges
After the OPP and AGCO’s joint investigation, the latter’s Regulatory Compliance Branch initiated a subsequent compliance review. In it, AGCO investigators planned to assess Casino Woodbine’s adherence to the Gaming Control Act and Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.
Upon completion of the review, the Registrar determined that Casino Woodbine, “failed to detect or take appropriate action on available information to prevent the cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme.” According to the gaming authority’s statement, this includes:
- Internal financial reports and emails indicating substantial and atypical losses from the electronic craps game over a six-month period of time, which were not effectively acted upon.
- Table games supervisors were often absent from the craps table when suspicious gambling activities occurred.
- Video surveillance recordings showing that the electronic craps game failed to follow required rules and procedures and lacked effective supervision.
- Although Casino Woodbine had issued the dealer with seven procedural violations for inappropriately pushing dice to patrons before closing bets, the dealer was allowed to continue dealing electronic craps during that time.
Casino Woodbine fully cooperated with the AGCO’s review and made a commitment to addressing any issues.
Pickering Casino Resort dealt with similar circumstances in August
Earlier this year, another Ontario casino in the Great Canadian family went through a similar investigation. In August, a table games dealer at Pickering Resort Casino earned himself criminal charges for allegedly colluding with patrons.
The probe, which was also an OPP-AGCO-backed effort, culminated in the arrests of four men. For his role, police charged 24-year-old Scarborough resident Sandeep Sogi with criminal breach of trust, four counts of cheat at play, and four counts of fraud in excess of $5,000.
His co-conspirators each face the following charges:
- Four counts of cheat at play
- Four counts of fraud over $5,000
- Four counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000
AGCO has levied $458,000 in gambling-related fines in 16 months
Adding the $80,000 Casino Woodbine fine to the $100,000 fine issued to online casino operator Apollo Entertainment in August, shows the AGCO continues to crack down on rule violations.
By PlayCanada’s count, the AGCO has now delivered fines on six occasions since Ontario’s legal online gambling market opened on April 4, 2022. Altogether, the Casino Woodbine fine, plus fines to online gambling operators have reached a total of $458,000.
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. ComeOn, Conquestador, 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.
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 similar infractions of the AGCO’s advertising and inducement rules.