The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has announced that they are serving two AGCO-registered internet gaming operators with Notices of Monetary Penalty, for allegedly violating the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. In particular, the penalty’s pertain to advertising and inducements.
“The Standards were put in place to protect Ontarians,” wrote the AGCO in a press release.
“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),” they added.
The 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.
As a result of violating the Standards for Internet Gaming:
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.
The AGCO cited specific instances where the betting companies “induced” Ontarians. BetMGM Canada is being accused of holding 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.”
BetMGM also allegedly published a tweet stating that “the more money you put in per bet, the higher your chance is of winning”, tweeted on April 10, 2022. This is contrary to the section 2.04 standards.
Also, during the period of April 4, 2022 to April 21, 2022, Point Bets Canada placed posters on GO trains and in multiple products with an inducement to play for free.
“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,” said Tom Mungham, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the AGCO.
“Ontario is one of the only jurisdictions in the world to prohibit broad public advertising of bonuses and other gambling inducements,” the AGCO adds.
The AGCO permits those served with a monetary penalty 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.