Online casino scam reaches Ontario, as police warn of fraudulent gaming ads

April 22, 2024 8:40 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
April 22, 2024 8:40 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports

What people were reading about this past winter in Canada’s western provinces, and before that in the Maritimes, has now made its way to Ontario, with the provincial police warning gamblers to be wary of fraudulent online advertising activity.

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In January, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries warned people to stay away from fraudulent posts on Facebook purporting to be an online-gaming app for Club Regent Casino. Club Regent Casino, based in Winnipeg, offers neither a mobile app nor online gaming.

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis issued a similar warning in January, making people aware of fraudulent apps and social-media ads impersonating casinos and racing entertainment centers in the province. The deceptive ads implied that the province’s land-based venues had added online gambling to their operations. But none of the province’s 29 casinos or racing entertainment centers are licensed to offer online gambling; PlayAlberta.ca is the province’s only legal gambling website.

In addition to these, the issue has been reported across Canada since November 2023, from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The danger, of course, is people risk giving up their personal information by using the fraudulent apps or accessing the social-media ads.

Now it’s Ontario’s turn, with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) warning online gamblers to be wary of a fraudulent gaming advertisement on social media showing an online-gaming platform hosted by Casino Rama. When users clicked the ad, they were taken to an application download page associated with WinSpirit Casino.

However, Casino Rama has no connection to WinSpirit Casino. A quick peek online shows the registered address for WinSpirit Casino is in Curaçao, with payment processing managed by Bovive Ltd., registered in Cyprus. They are unregistered in Ontario.

A news release issued by the OPP, in partnership with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, said, “In Ontario, regulated gaming sites are held to high standards of game integrity, data security, and player protections. Ontario residents who choose to gamble online are being reminded to be aware of such advertisements and to always ensure the gaming site they are playing on is registered with the AGCO.”