Ontario fines PointsBet for irresponsible gambling practices

PointsBet Canada has been fined CA$150,000 by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for violating responsible gambling rules in the province. The fine covers multiple breaches of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming in Ontario.

One of the violations that led to the fine was PointsBet Canada’s failure to assist a customer who had potentially experienced gambling harm. The customer lost over $500,000 in less than three months and was flagged as high-risk by PointsBet Canada’s systems on multiple occasions. Despite this, no interventions were provided during that period.

PointsBet Canada also failed to enforce a 24-hour cooling-off period when players canceled their per-day deposit limit, as required under the operator’s license in Ontario. Additionally, the company was found to have breached marketing rules by communicating gambling inducements, bonuses, or credits via direct advertising without active player consent.

AGCO also highlighted the case of a player who withdrew their consent for direct advertising and marketing, yet still received credits totaling $35,500 in their account on various occasions. The player was also provided with numerous offers of free tickets to sporting events. This led AGCO to conclude that PointsBet Canada failed to ensure its employees understood responsible gambling and were not adequately trained to respond to players experiencing harm from gambling.

AGCO emphasized the importance of these rules in protecting players at risk of gambling-related harm and stated that it takes breaches of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming seriously. PointsBet Canada has the option to appeal the fine.

In the US, PointsBet’s operations are undergoing a transition after Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) struck a deal to acquire the US operations of PointsBet. Shareholders approved the deal and FBG has completed the acquisition of PointsBet operations in New York and Wyoming, with approval also secured for acquiring PointsBet US in eight other states.

The FBG deal does not impact PointsBet’s operations in Canada. PointsBet was one of the first operators to go live in Ontario when the market launched in April 2022. AGCO CEO and registrar, Karin Schnarr, emphasized the obligation of igaming operators 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 harm.