The latest news coming from Ontario and its brand-new and regulated iGaming market is that there has been an issue with its self-exclusion feature. According to reports from the regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, some users have taken advantage of a loophole in the program, which allows bettors to void their losing bets. AGCO is now investigating the problem.
Ontario’s iGaming and sports betting market for private operators opened up on April 4, 2022, and more than 20 operators are now active in the province. And according to AGCO’s rules, every platform should offer a self-exclusion program, as it is important for bettors to keep control over their gambling habits. It enables them to limit their playing time and funds.
Abusing the Loophole
Most recently, the regulator informed that Ontario bettors are taking advantage of a loophole in the self-exclusion program. According to the AGCO, they place a wager on one sportsbook and then place the opposite bet on a different sportsbook. Then, they are able to void the losing bet by excluding themselves from the sportsbook with the lost wager. Therefore, they manage to always come out in profit.
This is possible as the self-exclusion program locks out customers out of their betting accounts for a certain period of time, then cancels all pending bets or future game transactions, and facilitates the return of the balance of unused funds. The issue is a major problem for the newly created market, and the AGCO has informed that it is now working on resolving it.
Currently, Ontario does not have a self-exclusion feature that can be enabled across all of the provincially licensed private operators. That is why the province is now prioritizing working on a solution to the problem. The regulator shared that the self-limiting option should be universal, meaning that if a bettor excludes himself from a platform, this should apply to all other sportsbooks or websites.
Raymond Kahnert, senior communications advisor with the AGCO has recently commented that the commission is now working on a centralized self-exclusion registry for the province. In his words, the new centralized mechanism would eliminate the loophole and then sports bettors will be unable to place other wagers on any other online sportsbook in the province after entering self-exclusion.
An Immense Variety
Ontario’s new online gaming and sports wagering market is only a few months old, but the jurisdiction already offers an immense variety of offerings. As of now, over 20 sportsbooks and betting sites are up and running. This includes DraftKings, which in May made its highly-anticipated debut. Its DraftKings Sportsbook is now available to play in the province.
A recent study discovered that hockey is not the most popular betting option in the province’s new market. According to the study, for the first month of operations, Ontarians are much keener to place their bets on basketball games. The NBA was the most popular betting preference for users with 27.6% of the wagers, then the NHL was a close second with 22.1% in the said month.
Source: Wayne, Jacob “Self-Exclusion Program Creating Issues in Ontario as Bettors Exploit Loophole: AGCO Investigating”, LineUps, June 30, 2022