Ontario sports betting regulators fined PointsBet for alleged responsible gaming negligence around a single player.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced last week a CAD $150,000 penalty against PointsBet. The AGCO cited an Ontario sports betting customer who lost CAD $500,000 in a three-month span, all without interference from the operator, according to the regulator.
“In Ontario, iGaming operators have an obligation to 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,” AGCO CEO and Registrar Karin Schnarr said in a release. “The AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by holding all registered operators to these high standards.”
PointsBet mum on Ontario sports betting issue
The AGCO said PointsBet not only failed to assist the customer in curbing their behavior but also provided CAD $35,500 in play credit, as well as additional rewards like sports event tickets. The alleged negligence came even though PointsBet flagged the player as “potentially high-risk,” according to the AGCO.
The AGCO concluded that PointsBet failed “to ensure that employees understood the importance of responsible gambling and were adequately trained to respond approximately to, and assist, players who may be experiencing harm from gambling.” PointsBet has the right to appeal, and declined to comment on the situation beyond acknowledging the fine.
“We are aware of the recent allegations put forth by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario,” a PointsBet Canada spokesperson told LSR. “Given this is an open legal matter, we will not provide further comment.”
Canadian Gaming Association takes action
On the same day the AGCO announced its PointsBet penalty, the Canadian Gaming Association announced it will hold a “Promoting Player Health and Wellbeing” symposium December 5 in Toronto.
“At the CGA, we collectively believe that gaming is a legitimate form of entertainment and a positive contributor to our communities,” the event page reads. “We also believe in continuing to promote responsible use of our industry’s products.”
Along with the Responsible Gambling Council, the CGA hopes to develop Responsible Gambling Guiding Principles and an Advertising and Marketing Code of Conduct for sports betting in Canada.
Other Ontario fines
In August, the AGCO fined iGaming operator Apollo Entertainment CAD $100,000 for similar responsible gaming offenses. In that case, the AGCO alleged Apollo did not intervene on a customer that lost $2 million in four months.
Last year, the AGCO also levied multiple fines against operators for advertising violations. Those penalties included a CAD $30,000 fine against PointsBet for advertising free play within Toronto’s GO Transit system. The regulator also punished DraftKings, BetMGM and Unibet for similar infractions.