The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has most recently imposed a two-year suspension on Standardbred trainer Anthony Beaton amidst horse cruelty allegations. In October, the regulator received intel that the trainer had engaged in conduct compromising equine safety and welfare, and after a thorough review decided to temporarily suspend his license.
AGCO is an Ontario provincial regulatory body responsible for regulating alcohol, gaming, horse racing, and private cannabis retail sectors in the province in compliance with principles of honesty and integrity. This includes regulating horse racing in all its forms in Ontario, the operation of racetracks and the licensing of racetracks and racing participants.
Revoking License for Two Years
The regulator’s investigation found that Mr. Beaton had excessively used a whip on a yearling he was training. Therefore, committing an act of cruelty and engaging in misconduct is a violation of the Rules of Standardbred Racing. Now, the trainer’s horseperson license has been fully suspended for two years, starting from October 13, 2023, until October 12, 2025.
Still, a licensed horse racing participant who has been issued a Ruling under the Rules of Racing has the option to appeal the regulator’s decision to the Horse Racing Appeal Panel. HRAP is an independent adjudicative body, operating separately from AGCO and is mandated to hear appeals of decisions. It remains to be seen whether he would appeal.
Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of AGCO commented that the watchdog strides to hold horse racing participants to the highest standards of conduct, especially those who are responsible for the care and training of horses. She added the integrity of racing lies in safeguarding the health and welfare of horses and protecting the safety of individuals.
In the summer of 2022, the gambling and horse racing regulator issued another ban on another horse racing participant. It was imposed on the Thoroughbred trainer, Robert Gerl of Palgrave, as horses trained by him tested positive for ostarine which is a non-therapeutic substance. He was banned from the sport for the next 20 years and fined.
Keeping Tabs for iGaming Irregularities
Besides keeping a close look at the horse racing sector, AGCO is also meticulously monitoring Ontario’s regulated iGaming sector for private operators. In November 2023, the online gambling watchdog issued a fine of CA$150,000 to PointsBet Canada. It was in connection to a breach of the province’s responsible gambling standards by the third-party firm.
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.
Source: “AGCO issues two-year suspension to Ontario trainer for alleged horse cruelty” GlobeNewswire, December 11, 2023