‘Dealer collusion’ lands Woodbine Casino hefty AGCO fine

The casino has committed to addressing deficiencies after violating three of the Registrar's standards

Ontario Gaming GTA Limited Partnership (Casino Woodbine) has been served with a Notice of Monetary Penalty totaling $80k by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

The regulator took action after conducting an “in-depth compliance review” to assess Casino Woodbine’s adherence to the Gaming Control Act, 1992 and Registrar’s Standards for Gaming, which followed an investigation into allegations of collusion between an electronic craps dealer and five patrons.

The Ontario Provincial Police Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB), embedded within the AGCO, laid charges against the five individuals in April 2023, and the regulator’s own review found that Casino Woodbine had “failed to detect or take appropriate action on available information to prevent the cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme”, including:

  • internal financial reports and emails indicating substantial and atypical losses from the electronic craps game over a six-month period of time, which were not effectively acted upon;
  • Table games supervisors were often absent from the craps table when suspicious gambling activities occurred;
  • Video surveillance recordings showing that the electronic craps game failed to follow required rules and procedures and lacked effective supervision;
  • Although Casino Woodbine had issued the dealer with seven procedural violations for inappropriately pushing dice to patrons before closing bets, the dealer was allowed to continue dealing electronic craps during that time.
  • Under Ontario’s gaming laws, casino operators are required to implement effective controls to limit the risk of criminal activity, including cheating and collusion between patrons and casino staff.

The Registrar, which is currently Tom Mungham until Dr. Karin Schnarr takes over next week, issued a Monetary Penalty for multiple alleged violations of the Gaming Control Act, 1992, which arise from non-compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming:

  • Standard 4.3, paragraph 2, requiring operators to have adequate supervision in place to ensure adherence to required procedures, including rules of play.
  • Standard 4.14, requiring that operators have mechanisms in place to deter, prevent and detect collusion and cheating;
  • Standard 6.1 paragraph 1, requiring that operators conduct risk assessments to determine the potential for unlawful activities, including money laundering, fraud, theft and cheat at plays.

According to the AGCO, Casino Woodbine has “fully cooperated” with its review and is committed to addressing deficiencies, but the regular will continue to monitor to ensure the casino “appropriately addresses their controls to better detect and prevent casino cheats and dealer collusion”.

The fine is the latest action taken against an operator, following the $100k fine handed to Apollo Entertainment last month for violations of the Commission’s responsible gambling standards.

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