AGCO Fines Sportsbooks for Breaking Advertising Regulations

Updated: 188 Sport

AGCO Fines Sportsbooks for Breaking Advertising Regulations
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

  • There has been a rocky start to sportsbooks advertising since launching on April 4th in Ontario
  • Some operators have been fined in excess of $100,000 for new customer incentive advertising
  • Appeals are possible but the AGCO will uphold the standards put in place

Since the change in regulations in the Ontario sports betting industry, there have been many concerns arising from what some see as a shaky start. As the first jurisdiction to create a legal market in Canada, Ontario has had to deal with navigating problems and issues that have no precedent in the country. 

Some of those issues have to deal with sportsbooks. The Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario is facing another legal problem concerning a number of gambling operators. The betting sites face a fine of approximately $38,000 - $100,000 for failing to comply with rules put in place by the AGCO.

There should be confusion of the rules in place, and these cases do seem to be a clear transgression of the standard as opposed to confusion as the rules, but the AGCO has set out it's stall and while the initial fines may be considered lenient, any further breaches are sure to be treated harshly

Noah Strange - Sports Betting Expert -

The AGCO Sues Various Sportsbooks

Between the 19th and the 22nd of May, 2022 – one gambling operator, posted various and numerous promotional content advertising extravagant bonuses and welcome offers of amounts exceeding what is put in place by the ACGO, as an official regulation. 

As a result of this, they are being legally penalized by the commission to pay a fine of $48,000. Though this is a strict regulation that is held to strict standards, it is important to note that they are not the first or even the only sportsbook operator to be hit by fines for the same transgression. 

Operators fined include, Unibet, BetMGM, DraftKings and PointsBet facing similar and higher fines for overstepping the same regulation with fines between $38,000 - $100,000.

Of course, the severity of the fine is determined by the severity of the transgression; operators overstepping the promotions regulations by greater welcome bonus rewards and similar promotions that are not within the bounds of the rules set by the ACGO, will have to pay heavier fines. 

The Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario and its Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Tom Mungham, take issues of this nature very seriously as it involves the inevitable safety of its users, and ultimately protecting the symbiotic relationship between the commission, operators, and public. Regulations in place to guard the protection of the public must always be strictly enforced, but more so when it comes to something of this personal nature, which can affect its users in different ways. 

 “The AGCO will continue to monitor these gaming sites’ activities, and ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards,” said Tom Mungham of the ACGO.

The AGCO will continue to monitor these gaming sites’ activities, and ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards

Tom Mungham - AGCO

Keeping Up the Standard of the ACGO

The Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario has set in place the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (the Standards for gambling), to protect the general public from the potential dangers of gambling. The severity of this issue might not be as apparent to some as they are to others.

The importance of this particular standard, Standard 2.05, is to uphold the integrity of the gambling industry of Ontario. What this entails isn’t exclusively the standard of gambling and betting in Ontario, but also the protection of minors and the importance of responsible gambling  

Many individuals across Ontario, along with many other places around the world, struggle with gambling responsibly – this could lead to many gamblers losing great sums of money; or ultimately more than they can afford to lose at the time, leaving them in harsh debt. 

The province has taken it upon itself to stress the great importance of protecting the gaming users of Ontario from such possible instances, both for the safety of the individual and for the long-term success of the gambling and sports betting industry.

When gambling or betting operators overstep these regulations and do things like advertise abnormally large welcome bonuses to draw in players who might be somewhat more susceptible to gambling addiction; it clearly puts the player at a greater risk of gambling more irresponsibly than they normally would. This not only puts the player at risk but also the operators of getting into possible legal battles. With all of this, it is easy to understand why the aforementioned operators were fined so severely for their transgressions.

Moving Forward

Operators are still allowed an appeal against these charges, but thus far it seems certain that standards will be upheld. Despite Ontario’s rocky introduction to the industry on April 4th, it is clear that no matter what it faces, the users of these operators officially registered to the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario will be protected by the AGCO to its best ability. 

"We expect all registered operators to achieve and maintain the high standards of responsible gambling, player protection, and game integrity," said Tom Mungham, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the AGCO.

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