The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is once again keeping a firm hand on the province’s brand-new and regulated online gambling model. Most recently, the regulator has fined Unibet over violations of advertising and inducement which the province has strict rules about. The operator will now have to pay a fine in the size of CA$48,000.
Ontario’s internet gambling and sports wagering model was launched on April 4, 2022, after years of efforts from the local governments. The market is operated by the AGCO and its iGaming Ontario subsidiary and since the launch, the province has registered over 46 operators and 27 digital sportsbooks to legally operate in the jurisdiction.
Violating Provincial Protocols
On Thursday, August 25, 2022, AGCO announced that it has imposed a CA$48,000 fine on Unibet for failing to comply with the province’s Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. Thus, the company is joining the likes of PointsBet Canada, BetMGM, and DraftKings, which were fined by the regulator over the course of the last few months.
Unibet’s violation is in regards to its May marketing when the company published and broadcasted ads stating that it offers generous welcome offers. Currently, the province forbids operators in the province to advertise bonuses, credits, or sign-up inducements. Such promotions can be only marketed on their official website or by contacting a customer directly, but not to the public.
In a press release from the regulator, its Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Tom Mungham, shared a few words on the fine. Speaking on behalf of the commission, he said that it expects all registered operators to achieve and maintain the high standards of responsible gambling, as well as player protection and game integrity. He added that the regulator will keep monitoring the market for any violations.
Prior to Unibet, DraftKings was the most recent operator to suffer a fine from AGCO. The sportsbook was issued a hefty CA$100,000 fine in June 2022, for breaching Standard 2.05 of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. Allegedly in May the company promoted boosted odds for hockey matches during the NHL playoffs aired on both TV and social media channels.
And as already mentioned BetMGM and PointsBet Canada have also been financially penalized by the iGaming regulator of Ontario. BetMGM was fined CA$48,000, due to the sportsbook failing to comply with Standard 2.04 and 2.05. This was after its tweets promoting a “CA$240k Launch Party”, while the second one was advertising a CA$10 casino bet when placing a CA$25 wager first.
PointsBet Canada’s monetary fine was also for violating Standard 2.05 of the provincial protocols. Its fine was in the size of CA$30,000 due to putting up posters in GO stations and on GO trains that featured inducement to play for free. CEO of the company Scott Vanderwel apologized on behalf of the company for the misunderstanding.
Source: Matthew, Ethan “Ontario Sports Betting: AGCO Fines Another Operator as Unibet Dinged for Advertising Infractions” Covers, August 25, 2022