PointsBet Canada to Pay CA$150,000 for Responsible Gaming Breaches in Ontario

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November 18th, 2023
Back PointsBet Canada to Pay CA$150,000 for Responsible Gaming Breaches in Ontario

PointsBet Canada was issued a fine of CA$150,000 (£88,884/€101.811/US$108,592) on behalf of The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The operator in question made multiple violations of the internet gaming standards imposed by the said commission, and this notable financial penalty encompasses all of those.

Failure to provide assistance to a consumer experiencing gambling-related harm and no interventions on occasions where high-risk behavior was spotted were just some of the reasons for the fine. Worth mentioning is that this is not the first time the operator was found in breach of the rules, and it was already ordered to pay a fine due to incompliance with the local advertising standards.

PointsBet was one of the first operators to go live in Ontario, establishing its business in the province from the moment the market was launched in April 2022.

Serious Violations of Standards

First of all, PointsBet Canada failed to provide assistance to a consumer whose behavior clearly indicated that he was experiencing gambling-related harm.

In under three months, the customer in question has lost over $500,000. Making the situation even worse is the fact that this very user was already classified as a high-risk customer on previous occasions, not only due to high losses, but repeated withdrawal cancellations.

According to the Commission, no interventions were made, although this customer’s overall behavior should have been a signal to the operator to pay attention and react.

Furthermore, in situations when players canceled their per-day deposit limit, the operator failed to enforce a 24-hour cooling-off period. Such action is mandatory for all casinos running business in Ontario.

Marketing Rules Breached

Communicating gambling inducements, bonuses, or credits via direct advertising without active player consent is also prohibited under the local rules, and PointsBet Canada breached them as well. For example, despite withdrawing their consent for direct advertising and marketing, one consumer received a total of $35,500 worth of credits and free tickets to sporting events.

As mentioned in the intro, this is not the first time the operator was required to pay a fine with regard to breaching marketing rules. In May 2022, BetMGM and PointsBet were penalized $30,000 and $48,000 respectively for infarctions with advertising.

All these activities indicate that the operator has instructed its employees to recognize signs of problematic behavior and provide assistance and appropriate responses when spotting it. Commenting on the situation, AGCO CEO and registrar, Karin Schnarr, said:

“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.”

She also noted that AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by obliging all certified operators to follow the highest standards.

The operator has yet to provide a response to the fine. As is the case with any monetary penalty in Ontario, PointsBet Canada has the option to appeal.

Meanwhile, the recent partnership the operator inked with Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) to operate in the multiple states US-wide won’t be impacted by the situation in Canada.

Source: 

“PointsBet fined CA$150,000 over responsible gambling failings in Ontario”, igamingbusiness.com, November 10, 2023.

“failure to provide assistance to a consumer experiencing gambling-related harm”

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