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AGCO Issues Penalties to Fallsview Casino Operator for Anti-Money Laundering Violations

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The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued an Order of Monetary Penalty totaling $70,000 to MGE Niagara Entertainment Inc., the registered operator of Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls Ontario, for failing to meet requirements in place to minimize the risk of unlawful activity, including money laundering, at the gaming site.

In April 2023, a patron attended the Salon Privé at the Fallsview Casino Resort and presented $80,000 in strapped $100 bills from a reusable grocery bag. Surveillance showed that once the money was counted and confirmed, the patron left the table with casino chips without playing at that time. Despite having previously identified the player as “high risk,” the casino failed to notify the AGCO and on-site police of this transaction as required. The casino operator also failed to take any meaningful steps to ascertain and corroborate the patron’s source of funds, as is required by anti-money laundering rules set out in the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.

The prevention of unlawful activities at Ontario’s gaming sites is a key priority for the AGCO. Casino operators have an important role to play and must take steps to effectively identify and prevent criminal activity from occurring on their gaming sites. Among the regulatory requirements casino operators must meet, the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming (the Standards) require operators to report suspicious behaviours and to validate a patron’s source of funds when presented with significant amounts of bulk cash.

The AGCO, along with the Ontario Provincial Police bureau attached to it, continue to focus on the safety and security of gaming in Ontario and actively monitor all Ontario gaming sites for compliance with the Standards.

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A registered gaming operator served with an Order 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.

“The AGCO is committed to protecting the public interest and public safety and remains vigilant in its efforts to guard against potential money laundering at Ontario’s gaming sites. Casino operators are important front-line partners in this effort and the AGCO holds all operators to rigorous standards when it comes to the prevention of unlawful activity,” Dr. Karin Schnarr, CEO and Registrar of AGCO, said.

AGCO

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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Thunderkick eyes substantial growth with Ontario market entry

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Independent slots studio Thunderkick is setting its sights on success in the Ontario market with ambitious plans to acquire a licence to operate in the jurisdiction.

The market entry will see the provider strengthen its presence further in regulated international jurisdictions. Ontario is set to become a main focus for Thunderkick in the year ahead, alongside markets such as Italy, Portugal and its homeland of Sweden.

Ontario will also mark the first step in Thunderkick’s long-term growth strategy, which will see the provider roll out great game releases and commercial deals in 2024 and beyond. The licence would allow the provider to partner with a range of operators in the region, which has proven to be buoyant since it came online in 2022.

As part of the move, a wealth of acclaimed, innovative titles will become available to a brand-new audience. Its portfolio boasts titles such as the recently released Hellapenos, alongside player-favourites including Esqueleto Explosivo 2, the Beat the Beast series and more.

Thunderkick is positioning itself for major growth with this imminent first step, with several new slots such as 12 Bolts of Thunder to be released next week.

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Svante Sahlström, Chief Commercial Officer at Thunderkick, said: “Ontario is likely to be a significant strategic move for us this year, and I think we’ll also look back on it as an important marker in the company’s development in years to come.

“Thunderkick is compliance ready and we’re confident we’ll soon be able to showcase our games to lots of new Canadian players. We have a strong long-term vision for expansion as a whole and are excited to follow those in the months to come.”

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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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