In order to protect the public interest and ensure Ontario’s igaming market operates responsibly and with integrity, the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), has served two AGCO-registered internet gaming operators with Notices of Monetary Penalty for alleged infractions of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (the Standards), pertaining to advertising and inducements.
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). Standards also require that all operator marketing, advertising and promotions must be truthful, not mislead players or misrepresent products. This includes requiring that materials not imply that chances of winning increase the more one spends (Standard 2.04).
BetMGM Canada has been served Notice of Monetary Penalties totalling $48,000 for their alleged failure to comply with Standards 2.04 and 2.05.
PointsBet Canada has been served Notice of Monetary Penalties totalling $30,000 for their alleged failure to comply with Standard 2.05.
Ontario is one of the only jurisdictions in the world to prohibit broad public advertising of bonuses and other gambling inducements.
A registered operator served with Notice of Monetary Penalty by the AGCO 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.
“The AGCO holds all registered operators to high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity, and monitors their activities to ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”
Tom Mungham, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar – AGCO
Contrary to Standard 2.05, BetMGM Canada posted the following alleged gambling inducements:
A “$250K Launch Party” advertisement, including a contest offer where the first-place winner gets $100K in casino bonus. The post was initially tweeted on April 4, 2022, and later, tweeted again on April 11, 2022.
A “Bellagio” advertisement, including an offer of a $10 casino bonus in return for a $25 bet. The post was initially tweeted on April 4, 2022, and later, tweeted again on April 6, 2022, and on April 8, 2022.
A “Jimi Hendrix Free Spin Friday”, including a chance to win 100 free spins in return for following the registrant’s Twitter account. The post was initially tweeted on April 8, 2022, and later tweeted again on April 8, 2022.
Contrary to Standard 2.04, BetMGM Canada posted the following:
A tweet stating that “the more money you put in per bet, the higher your chance is of winning”, tweeted on April 10, 2022.
Contrary to Standard 2.05, PointsBet Canada advertised the following alleged gambling inducements:
During the period of April 4, 2022 to April 21, 2022, posters on GO trains and in multiple products with an inducement to play for free.
During the period of April 4, 2022 to April 17, 2022, posters at two GO train stations with an inducement to play for free.
ABOUT THE AGCO
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is an Ontario provincial regulatory agency reporting to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). It is a corporation under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019.
The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.