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PointsBet fined CA$150,000 over responsible gambling failings in Ontario

| By Robert Fletcher
The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued a fine of CA$150,000 (£88,884/€101.811/US$108,592) to PointsBet Canada for breaching responsible gambling rules in the province.
PointsBet Ontario

AGCO says the penalty relates to several alleged violations of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming in Ontario. The fine covers all breaches identified at PointsBet Canada.

Violations included PointsBet Canada failing to provide assistance to a customer who was potentially experiencing gambling harm. The player in question lost over $500,000 in under three months.

The user was flagged as potentially high-risk by PointsBet Canada’s systems on multiple occasions. This included when incurring significant losses and making repeated withdrawal cancellations. However, AGCO says no interventions were provided during that period.

PointsBet Canada was also rapped for failing to enforce a 24-hour cooling-off period when players cancelled their per-day deposit limit. This is required under the operator’s licence in Ontario.

AGCO flags PointsBet Canada for breaching marketing rules

Other violations included communicating gambling inducements, bonuses, or credits via direct advertising without active player consent. 

Highlighting the case of one player, despite withdrawing their consent for direct advertising and marketing, credits totalling $35,500 were deposited on various occasions into the player’s account. Numerous offers of free tickets to sporting events were provided to the same user.

Based on such activities, AGCO said there was evidence PointsBet Canada failed to ensure employees understood responsible gambling. Staff were also not adequately trained to respond appropriately to, and assist, players who may be experiencing harm from gambling.

AGCO says it takes breaches of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming seriously. These rules, it adds, are in place to protect players at risk of gambling-related harm. 

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

“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,” AGCO CEO and registrar, Karin Schnarr, said.

“AGCO will continue to focus on player protection by holding all registered operators to these high standards.”

PointsBet was one of the first operators to go live in Ontario, rolling out its offering when the market launched in April 2022.

All change in the US as Fanatics deal moves forward

South of Canada, thing are looking very different for PointsBet. Earlier this year, Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) struck a deal to acquire the US operations of PointsBet.

PointsBet shareholders approved the deal shortly thereafter and there has been little time wasted in pushing ahead with the transition.

Last month, FBG completed the acquisition of PointsBet operations in both New York and Wyoming

This came after FBG in September also secured approval for acquiring PointsBet US in eight other states. These comprise New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

Operations in Canada will not be impacted by the FBG deal.

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