A month after the official launch of Ontario’s regulated iGaming market, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission informs that it has imposed fines on two private operators. This week, the regulator of the regime revealed that it has penalized BetMGM and PointsBet Canada for alleged advertising and inducement breaches. Both operators will be required to pay a financial fine.
Ontario’s new open iGaming and sports betting market for private operators officially launched on April 4, 2022. The regime has attracted plenty of interest from gaming brands, as in the last summer the country legalized single-event betting. Now, besides provincial lotteries, approved operators by the AGCO are also allowed to offer the highly-sought offering.
Violation of Internet Gaming Rules
Recently, the AGCO informed that MGM Resorts and Entain’s joint venture, BetMGM, has been fined CA$48,000. This is due to the sportsbook failing to comply with Standard 2.04 and 2.05 of the provincial Standards for Internet Gaming. While PointsBet Canada has been fined CA$30,000 for breaching Standard 2.05. Standard 2.04 prohibits companies from marketing gambling inducements, bonuses, and credits unless a player has given active consent.
According to the provincial regulator, BetMGM was fined for three separate tweets that have been posted in early April by the operator. The AGCO said that one of the tweets promoted a “CA$240k Launch Party”, while the second one was advertising a CA$10 casino bet when placing a CA$25 wager first. And the third twee promoted a “Jimi Hendrix Free Spin Friday”.
Meanwhile, PointsBet has been alleged to have violated the same standard by putting up posters in GO stations and on GO trains that featured inducement to play for free. CEO of PointsBet Canada, Scott Vanderwel, said that on behalf of the company he is apologizing for the error in the interpretation of the rules, which has led to making the mistake.
The AGCO issued a statement that said that BetMGM broke the protocols, in a tweet that said that the more money one puts in their bet, the higher is their chance of winning. The regulator explained that the rules stipulate advertisements must be truthful and not misleading for players or misrepresent products. However, the company did not respond to the comments.
More Than 40 Options
As of last Friday, Ontario informed that over 23 operators and 21 gaming sites have gone live in the locally regulated market. One of the latest brands to make its way into the local market is ComeOn, which announced its entry into the jurisdiction at the end of April. The company has acquired a two-year license, thus allowing it to operate in the province until April 2024.
However, with the increase in the availability of betting products and major marketing from operators, some Ontario gaming experts are worried about the possible downside to the market. For instance, according to Michael Naraine, from the Department of Sport Management of the Brock University, players who see the ads from outside the province could resort to offshore gambling, as other provinces do not have Ontario’s framework.
Source: Callan, Isaac “Ontario gaming regulator fines 2 gambling companies for alleged infractions”, GlobalNews, May 3, 2022