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AGCO Issues $150,000 in Penalties to PointsBet for Violations of Internet Gaming Responsible Gambling Standards

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The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued PointsBet Canada Operations 1 Inc., a registered internet gaming operator, a Notice of Monetary Penalty totaling $150,000 for failing to meet Ontario’s responsible gambling requirements.

The penalty relates to several alleged violations of the responsible gambling provisions of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (the Standards), including, but not limited to:

  • Failing to appropriately intervene and provide assistance to a player who was potentially experiencing gambling harms. In this case, a player lost over $500,000 in under three months. The player was flagged as potentially high-risk by the operator’s systems on multiple occasions, including due to incurring significant losses and making repeated withdrawal cancellations. Despite this, no interventions were provided by the gaming site operator during that period.
  • Failing to enforce the required 24-hour cooling-off period when the player cancelled their per-day deposit limit.
  • Communicating gambling inducements, bonuses, or credits through direct advertising without active player consent. Despite the player withdrawing their consent for direct advertising and marketing, credits totaling $35,500 were deposited on various occasions into the player’s account, and numerous offers of free tickets to sporting events were provided.
  • As demonstrated by these incidents, failing to ensure that employees understood the importance of responsible gambling and were adequately trained to respond appropriately to, and assist, players who may be experiencing harm from gambling.

Ensuring registered igaming operators comply with Ontario’s strong responsible gambling provisions is an AGCO priority. The AGCO’s Standards require registered operators in Ontario’s igaming market to follow specific rules designed to protect players at risk of gambling-related harm. These responsible gambling measures, grounded in international best-practices, include prevention, awareness, early intervention, and support.

A registered operator served with a Notice of Monetary Penalty by the AGCO has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.

“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. The AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by holding all registered operators to these high standards,” Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of AGCO, said.

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Over 86% of Ontario’s online gamblers play on regulated sites: Study

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Two years into Ontario’s open, regulated internet gaming (igaming) market, a new study commissioned by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario has found that the vast majority of people participating in igaming in the province are doing so on regulated sites. This represents a significant change from the estimated 70 per cent of online gambling that occurred on unregulated sites before the Government of Ontario established a safer, competitive, and regulated open market for Ontarians in April 2022.

According to an Ipsos study conducted in February 2024, 86.4% of Ontarians who gambled online over the preceding three months gambled on regulated sites. This represents an increase from the 85.3% of igaming participants who reported playing on regulated sites on a similar study conducted in 2023.

In 2022, the Government of Ontario worked with the AGCO and iGaming Ontario to launch an open igaming market that allows eligible private gaming operators, registered with the AGCO and under contract with iGO, to participate in Ontario’s legal gaming market. There are currently 47 registered operators offering 77 regulated sites to Ontarians.

However, despite this significant choice, the study found that a notable portion of Ontario’s igaming participants continue to wager on unregulated sites. The study found that 20.1% of those who had gambled online over the prior three months wagered on a combination of regulated and unregulated sites, while 13.6% did all their betting on unregulated sites. Participants named over 350 unregulated websites they have used, which highlights how many illicit betting options can be accessed by Ontarians and the importance of continued efforts to shift players to Ontario’s safer and legal gaming options.

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“Since its launch in April 2022, Ontario’s igaming model has been recognized internationally for championing work to displace the unregulated online gaming market,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “This made-in-Ontario, regulated market will continue to inspire global innovation, while ensuring a safer landscape for players and businesses alike.” – Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario

“In Ontario, regulated sites are held to high standards of game integrity, data security and player protections, including having significant responsible gaming safeguards. While it’s encouraging to see most participants are choosing regulated gaming options, those who are not are unfortunately risking far more than their wagers.” – Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, AGCO

“iGaming Ontario joins our operators, government, and AGCO in celebrating our success in attracting Ontarians to the safer, regulated igaming market. We will continue to work in lockstep with the AGCO to enable Ontarians to play with confidence.” – Martha Otton, Executive Director, iGaming Ontario

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Ellipse Entertainment Enters Geolocation Partnership with GeoLocs

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mkodo Limited (mkodo) is proud to announce that it has partnered with United Kingdom-based casino operator Ellipse Entertainment. Ellipse Entertainment has chosen mkodo’s advanced geolocation verification service, GeoLocs, to enhance its iGaming operations in Ontario, Canada.

Ellipse Entertainment has seamlessly integrated GeoLocs’ specialised iGaming geolocation platform into its High Flyer Casino brand. This integration will provide a safe, secure and fraud-free environment for its players across Ontario that meets and exceeds the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s (AGCO) regulations and requirements.

GeoLocs is a leading geolocation verification service, one of the largest in the Ontario region, specialising in North America’s regulated sports betting and iGaming markets. The platform was built specifically to support iGaming operators, ensuring they are operating in licenced jurisdictions and guaranteeing that they are providing responsible gaming to their customers.

Through this partnership, GeoLocs will bring its cutting-edge solution to Ellipse Entertainment’s High Flyer Casino brand, addressing unique challenges faced by iGaming operators through a swift and smooth integration process. Ellipse Entertainment will benefit from GeoLocs’ support in enhancing compliance strategies, optimising revenue opportunities and meeting regulatory standards. Additionally, users will experience a seamless journey, eliminating the need for additional downloads or companion apps.

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“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Ellipse Entertainment in Ontario introducing GeoLocs to enhance its iGaming operations,” the Managing Director for mkodo, Stuart Godfree, said. “Our partnership supports Ellipse Entertainment’s High Flyer Casino brand, ensuring a secure and seamless geolocation verification experience for players across Ontario.”

“GeoLocs has been the ideal solution for our geolocation verification needs in Ontario,” the Director for Ellipse Entertainment, Andy McDowall, said. “The platform’s advanced technology and expertise, tailored for iGaming operators, align perfectly with our commitment to responsible gaming. Teaming up with mkodo and its GeoLocs service allows Ellipse Entertainment to provide High Flyer Casino players with a compliant and enjoyable online gaming experience.”

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Red Rake Gaming Secures Ontario Gaming License

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Red Rake Gaming is thrilled to announce the acquisition of a gaming license for Ontario, marking a significant milestone for the company. The approval from the Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) allows Red Rake Gaming to provide its highly successful and player-centric content to the Ontario market. This achievement solidifies Red Rake Gaming’s commitment to expanding across the regulated landscape and North America following its recent approval from Pennsylvania.

This achievement marks a significant milestone for Red Rake Gaming, which has been active in various states with its social casino offering for several years across the largest social casinos in the United States.

Red Rake Gaming will bring the top-performing game genres and mechanics from its extensive portfolio, including the globally successful Super 30 Stars, Secrets of the Temple, the Million Ways to Win genre, and many other engaging and interactive titles.

Nick Barr, Managing Director (Malta) for Red Rake Gaming, states: “We could not be more thrilled to have been approved for operating in Ontario and have already witnessed a significant demand from operators to integrate our content across the province. We are equally delighted to offer players who have enjoyed our social games over the years the ability to play with real money in Ontario. We are extremely confident about the U.S. market and the integral role it will play in Red Rake Gaming’s continued growth.”

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