Toronto ON – The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued PointsBet Canada Operations 1 Inc., a registered internet gaming operator, a Notice of Monetary Penalty totaling $150,000 for failing to meet Ontario’s responsible gambling requirements.
The penalty relates to several alleged violations of the responsible gambling provisions of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (the Standards), including, but not limited to:
- Failing to appropriately intervene and provide assistance to a player who was potentially experiencing gambling harms. In this case, a player lost over $500,000 in under three months The player was flagged as potentially high-risk by the operator’s systems on multiple occasions, including due to incurring significant losses and making repeated withdrawal cancellations. Despite this, no interventions were provided by the gaming site operator during that period.
- 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. Despite the player withdrawing their consent for direct advertising and marketing, credits totaling $35,500 were deposited on various occasions into the player’s account, and numerous offers of free tickets to sporting events were provided.
- As demonstrated by these incidents, 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.
Ensuring registered igaming operators comply with Ontario’s strong responsible gambling provisions is an AGCO priority. The AGCO’s Standards require registered operators in Ontario’s igaming market to follow specific rules designed to protect players at risk of gambling-related harm. These responsible gambling measures, grounded in international best-practices, include prevention, awareness, early intervention, and support.
A registered operator served with a Notice of Monetary Penalty by the AGCO has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.
“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.”
Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar – AGCO
Contrary to section 3.8 of the Gaming Control Act, (GCA) PointsBet Canada Operations 1 Inc is alleged to have failed to comply with the following provisions of the Standards:
2.01 – implement and follow policies and procedures to identify, prevent, and minimize the risks of harm from gaming to players.
2.05 – Advertising and marketing materials that communicate gambling inducements, bonuses and credits are prohibited, except on an operator’s gaming site and through direct advertising and marketing, after receiving active player consent.
2.11 – systematically provide assistance to players who may be experiencing harms from gaming and implement interventions that are tailored to the severity of situations where players may be experiencing harm.
2.12 – ensure that employees understand the importance of responsible gambling and are adequately trained to respond appropriately to, and assist, players who may be experiencing harm from gambling.
2.24 – Where a gaming limit has been previously established by a player, a request by the player to relax or eliminate that limit shall only be implemented after a cooling-off period of at least 24 hours.
In accordance with AGCO Board Guidelines, the Registrant has been served an Order of Monetary Penalty totaling $150,000 for these alleged infractions.
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.