The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario which monitors for iGaming irregularities in the province’s internet gambling sector, has imposed another fine to a private operator. This time, the gaming watchdog has issued a fine worth CA$150,000 to PointsBet Canada, as the operator has failed to comply with the province’s responsible gambling standards.
AGCO is a provincially-run agency that oversees alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario. The commission and its iGaming Ontario subsidiary, are also responsible for managing the province’s new and competitive market for online gambling and sports betting for private operators which kicked off in April 2022.
Failing to Protect Consumer
PointsBet Canada’s penalty is in connection to several violations of the responsible gambling provisions of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. Reportedly, the operator failed to appropriately intervene and provide help to one of its players in the province who experienced gambling issues and had lost over CA$500,0000 in under three months.
It was reported that the user was marked as potentially high-risk by the operator on several occasions, due to recording substantial losses and making repeated withdrawal cancellations. Still, there were no intervention attempts from the operator. Also, the brand failed to implement a mandatory 24-hour cooling-off period when the player cancelled their per-day deposit limit.
The company also communicated gambling inducements, bonuses, or credits via direct advertising without the player’s consent. Also, despite the player unsubscribing for direct advertising and marketing, credits of CA$35,500 were sent several times to their account. Numerous offers of free tickets to sporting events were also supplied.
This is the second time that PointsBet Canada was fined by the iGaming watchdog. The first time was just weeks after the start of the market in April 2022. The operator was penalized for breaching Standard 2.05 after putting up posters in GO stations and on GO trains that featured inducement to play for free. The firm apologized for its mistake in the interpretation of the rules.
Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar at AGCO said iGaming operators are required to proactively monitor users’ play for signs of high-risk gambling and to take appropriate actions to intervene and reduce the potential for gambling-related issues. AGCO will continue to emphasize player protection by holding all licensed operators to high standards.
Unibet Also Violated Rules
Since the debut of Ontario’s iCasino and sports betting sector, AGCO has issued several fines to private companies operating in it. This includes a solid fine of CA$48,000 to Unibet for publishing and broadcasting ads stating that it offers generous welcome offers. Currently, the province forbids operators in the province to advertise bonuses, credits, or sign-up inducements.
Source: “AGCO issues $150,000 in penalties to PointsBet for violations of internet gaming responsible gambling standards” GlobeNewswire, November 9, 2023