AGCO Fines Two Ontario Operators For Taking Bets On Junior Hockey

Written By Matthew Lomon on June 21, 2023
Hockey stick

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has levied fines against two Ontario sports betting operators for alleged conduct violations.

BV Gaming and Fitzdares Canada are each facing monetary penalties 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.

Together, the CHL consists of the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Québec Major Junior Hockey League.

BV Gaming secured its Ontario iGaming license in June 2022, while FitzDares’ online offering launched in February of this year.

Operators violated standards prohibiting betting on minor league sports

The AGCO, which serves as the regulatory body for all things gaming in Ontario, is responsible for ensuring the market operates responsibly and with integrity. As such, it has certain standards in place to protect the public interest, bettors, and athletes alike.

One of those conventions, Standard 4.34, clearly prohibits betting on minor league sports in Canada, including the Canadian Hockey League, in paragraph 15.

For the supposed infraction, BV Gaming (BetVictor) and Fitzdares Canada were each ordered to pay a penalty of $15,000.

However, the operators have the right to appeal the ruling to the License Appeal Tribunal, which functions independently from the AGCO. Once the Tribunal reaches a decision, the results will be available for public consumption on the Canadian Legal Information Institute website.

AGCO chief operating officer, Dave Phillips, issued a statement doubling down on his organization’s commitment to enforcing proper operator conduct.

“As the regulator of Ontario’s sports betting industry, the AGCO is resolved to maintain the integrity of sports betting which, in turn, may serve to protect the integrity of sport,” said Phillips. “This includes a clear prohibition on offering bets in Ontario on minor league sports, including Canadian major junior hockey.

“We will continue to carefully monitor Ontario’s sports betting markets to ensure the public interest is protected.”

AGCO has been cracking down on infractions since launch

This is not the first time the AGCO has issued fines to operators for violations.

In April 2023, the AGCO handed out $70,000 in fines to three operators for offering uncertified slot games. The operator and their subsequent fine for breaching Standards 4.08 and 4.09 break down as follows:

  • Mobile Incorporated Limited: $30,000
  • LeoVegas: $25,000
  • Bunchberry Limited: $15,000

Evidently, Mobile Incorporated also defied Standard 1.22, resulting in a heftier penalty.

In April 2022, shortly after the market launched, BetMGM Canada and PointsBet Canada faced disciplinary action for disobeying advertising policies in the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. In this case, $78,000 in fines were handed out, with $48,000 going to BetMGM and $30,000 to PointsBet.

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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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