PointsBet is First Ontario Online Casino to Break Igaming Rules Twice PointsBet is First Ontario Online Casino to Break Igaming Rules Twice
Key Takeaways
  • PointsBet faces the highest fine in Ontario’s iGaming history — CAD $150,000.
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued CAD $576 million in fines — all related to Ontario online casino gaming and sports betting violations, none for online poker.
  • PointsBet was fined for violating Ontario’s responsible gambling requirements and failing to provide adequate assistance to a high-risk player.
  • PointsBet granted the player $35,500 in credits and numerous free tickets to sports events without consent.
  • AGCO accused PointsBet of not adequately training its employees to recognize and respond to players experiencing gambling harm.
  • The nature of AGCO’s fines has evolved since the market’s inception, with operators initially struggling with advertising restrictions.

PointsBet Ontario ran afoul of the province’s gaming laws for a second time and received the highest fine levied on an online operator since the province’s igaming markets launched in April 2022.

None of the CAD $576,000 (USD $420,000) in fines issued by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) have been tied to online poker. Rather, they were based on complaints to the regulator for alleged violations for sports betting and online casino gaming in Ontario.

The most recent complaint, filed earlier this month, drew a CAD $150,000 fine. AGCO alleged that PointsBet violated Ontario’s responsible gambling requirements.

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Specifically, the regulator accused PointsBet of “failing to appropriately intervene and provide assistance” to a player that lost more than $500,000 in less than three months, despite the player being flagged as potentially high-risk by PointsBet’s internal systems multiple times.

PointsBet also allegedly:

  • Failed to enforce a required 24-hour cooling-off period when the player canceled their pre-day deposit limit
  • Awarded the player $35,500 in credits, plus numerous offers of free tickets to sports events, without the player’s consent
  • Did not provide its employees with adequate training to recognize and respond to players who may be experiencing harm from gambling

“In Ontario, igaming operators must proactively monitor their patrons’ play for signs of high-risk gambling, and to take appropriate actions to intervene and reduce the potential for gambling-related harms,” Karin Schnarr, CEO and Registrar for the AGCO, said.

AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by holding all registered operators to these high standards.”

Alleged Violations Have Evolved Since Launch

The nature of AGCO’s fines has been evolving since the market launched in April 2022.

Operators appeared to struggle initially with the province’s tight restrictions on advertising and inducements. BetMGM and PointsBet were the first to allegedly violate such rules — in May 2022, the former was fined $48,000 while the latter drew a $30,000 fine.

DraftKings is alleged to have broken the same rules in June 2022 and was slapped with a $100,000 penalty. Unibet drew the ire of AGCO by allegedly violating the same restrictions in August of last year.

Three operators — Bunchberry Limited, Mobile Incorporated Limited (aka Mobinc), and LeoVegas Gaming PLC — were cited in April 2023 for allegedly offering uncertified slots to players at their real money online casinos in Ontario. Mobinc drew the largest fine of the group ($30,000), followed by LeoVegas ($25,000) and Bunchberry ($15,000).

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Last June, BV Gaming, which operates BetVictor Casino, was fined $15,000 by AGCO for allegedly offering prohibited bets on major Canadian junior hockey. Fitzdares drew an identical fine for the same allegations.

AGCO levied a $100,000 fine in August on Apollo Entertainment for allegedly having inadequate responsible gambling standards. Apollo’s online casino titles include Captain Cooks Casino, Casino Classic, Golden Tiger Casino, Grand Mondial Casino, Luxury Casino, Yukon Gold Casino, and Zodiac Casino.

Operators Fined by AGCO Since Ontario Markets Launched in April 2022

Date Operator Alleged Infraction Fine (All Operators)
5/3/2022 BetMGM, PointsBet advertising and inducements $78,000
6/30/2022 DraftKings advertising and inducements $100,000
8/25/2022 Unibet advertising and inducements $48,000
4/20/2023 Bunchberry, LeoVegas, Mobinc uncertified slots $70,000
6/20/2023 BV Gaming, Fitzdares prohibited bets $30,000
8/10/23 Apollo Entertainment RG standards $100,000
11/9/23 PointsBet RG standards $150,000

Note: All figures CAD.

Note: A rate of CAD $1 = USD 72.9 cents was used for monetary conversion purposes.