An Ontario man will have to wait until after the holidays to collect his jackpot winnings from an Ontario casino.
Under Ontario’s gaming regulations, anyone who wins more than $3,000 must produce a government-issued photo ID. The only problem is Michael doesn’t have any.
Regardless, that isn’t stopping the slots player from making his case. The Welland, ON native claims the stipulation is unjust, adding a previous medical condition makes photo ID nonsensical in his case.
The casino isn’t necessarily buying that argument. But they say his money will still be waiting for him when – and if – his documentation arrives.
Michael has inquired about it. But rest assured, he isn’t happy.
“I said to the casino I just want to get my money and never to go back there again.”
AGCO requires operators to ask for photo ID with wins over $3,000
Money laundering concerns are the main reason players must always have government-issued photo ID ready for wins over $3,000.
However, that mandate is issued by the overarching regulator – the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) – not the casino operator itself. Inevitably, to some, dirty money will always seemingly be attached to casinos. But, recently, that train of thought has perhaps grown even more.
Consider the country had its biggest money laundering scandal ever in 2022. Granted, that took place in B.C. – not Ontario.
Nonetheless, chances are regulators across the country aren’t looking to repeat such a shameful moment.
Ontario casinos must obey AGCO standards
To that end, ultimately the photo ID decision is out of the casino’s hands.
Chuck Keeling – executive vice president of stakeholder engagement and social responsibility with Great Canadian Entertainment, said as much in a statement to CTV News Toronto.
“Ontario’s casino operators must adhere to standards mandated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). One of those standards includes the requirement for players winning amounts over $3,000 to produce government-issued identification; this is one of the many requirements mandated to prevent money laundering in Ontario casinos.”
Medical exemptions not recognized for people lacking photo ID
However, Michael contends such reasoning is much too rigid. For starters, he points to his medical condition.
“I suffer from epilepsy. I’m 52 years of age and I have had it since I was 15. It’s one of the reasons I don’t drive, so no driver’s license.”
Michael also says he was unaware photo ID was necessary to collect winnings.
“You don’t need to show identification when you’re spending thousands of dollars or hundreds of dollars when you’re gambling… but to collect your winnings you do.”
Keeling remained unmoved.
“We are not aware of any exemption that would apply to this situation. For the individual in question, we welcome the opportunity to pay out his winnings once he is able to produce the necessary identification, per AGCO’s regulations.”
Photo ID will arrive in February
In the end, Michael will get his money – but he will have to wait and go through the necessary steps, said the casino. Due to government delays, Michael said his photo ID could take as long as February to arrive.
It’s not something he wanted to hear on the cusp of the holiday season.
“It’s just before Christmas and that type of money, especially when you’re not on any kind of government assistance, would really help.”
In case you’re wondering, beyond a driver’s license, the AGCO’s website states the following are also valid government-issued IDs:
- Canadian passport
- Citizenship card
- Canadian Armed Forces Identification Card
- Photo card issued by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)
- Secure Indian Status Cards
- Permanent Resident Card
- Photo card issued under Photo Card Act (2008)
- Equivalent foreign photo ID (e.g., valid passport, European Union identity card)