DraftKings becomes latest operator to be hit with AGCO fine

DraftKings Canada has been issued a fine of $100,000 in monetary penalties by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for alleged advertising and inducement infractions.

The AGCO notes that DraftKings, which was a late arrival to the Ontario regulated market, did not meet the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming and has been issued with the penalty “in order to protect the public interest and ensure Ontario’s iGaming market operates responsibly and with integrity”.

“Contrary to Standard 2.05, between May 19, 2022, and May 31, 2022, Crown DK CAN Ltd posted or aired multiple broad gambling inducements that included inducements of boosted 2:1 odds. The promotion was distributed widely via television and social media channels,” the AGCO said in a statement on their website.

“The Standards were put in place to protect Ontarians. They include clear restrictions on the advertising of inducements, bonuses or credits, except when they are on an operator’s site, or through direct advertising and marketing issued after receiving active player consent (Standard 2.05).”

The broad public advertising of bonuses and other gambling inducements is strictly prohibited in Ontario. Operators served with monetary penalties by the AGCO have the right to appeal the action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.

DraftKings is not the first big name to be fined by the AGCO for advertising infractions.

In May, just one month after the launch of Ontario’s market, PointsBet Canada and BetMGM Canada were fined $30,000 and $48,000 respectively for violating Standard 2.05 and also, in BetMGM’s case, Standard 2.04. DraftKings’ fine is significantly higher than either of those punishments.

“The AGCO will continue to monitor the activities of all registered operators and hold them to high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity,” commented Tom Mungham, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the AGCO. “It is in the public interest that we ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”

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