Pointsbet Canada hit with $150k in penalties

November 10, 2023 11:34 AM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
November 10, 2023 11:34 AM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports

PointsBet Canada has been issued a $150,000 fine by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for failing to meet Ontario’s responsible-gambling requirements.

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The penalty relates to several alleged violations of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, including “failing to appropriately intervene and provide assistance to a player who was potentially experiencing gambling harms.” In this case the player lost over $500,000 in under three months.

In a statement today, The AGCO said the player was flagged as potentially high risk by the operator’s systems on multiple occasions, due to incurring significant losses and making repeated withdrawal cancellations. The AGCO says that despite this, PointsBet Canada made no no interventions during that period.

“In Ontario, igaming operators have an obligation to proactively monitor their patrons’ play for signs of high-risk gambling and take appropriate actions to intervene and reduce the potential for gambling related harms. The AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by holding all registered operators to these high standards,” said Dr. Karin Schnarr, chief executive officer and registrar, AGCO, in a statement.

The AGCO alleged that the operator failed to enforce the required 24-hour cooling-off period when the player cancelled their per-day deposit limit. PointsBet Canada was also said to have communicated gambling inducements, bonuses, and credits through direct advertising without active player consent – credits totaling $35,500, deposited on various occasions into the player’s account. In addition, numerous offers of free tickets to sporting events were provided.

The AGCO said these incidents demonstrated a failure to ensure that PointsBet Canada employees understood the importance of responsible gambling and were adequately trained to respond and assist players who may have been experiencing harm from gambling.

Said a spokesperson from PointsBet Canada this morning: “We are aware of the recent allegations put forth by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Given this is an open legal matter, we will not provide further comment.”

A registered operator served a penalty by the AGCO has the right to appeal it to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, independent of the AGCO.