Official statements from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario cite dozens of alleged violations of regulatory procedures, rules, and policy enforcement.
Rideau Carleton Has Its Hands Full
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has fined Hard Rock’s subsidiary Rideau Carleton – operating in Ottawa – a jaw-dropping CAD$227,000. Tom Mungham – registrar and chief operating officer of AGCO since 2020 – said in a statement that “These penalties are intended to drive the improvements needed at the Rideau Carleton Casino,” when discussing the findings. A total of thirty-six regulatory failings were addressed by the AGCO, all with varying degrees of severity.
Most notably, “repeatedly” failing to adhere to anti-money laundering policies and breaching procedures. Adding to the list of the more severe alleged shortcomings was also advertising to people who had self-excluded from gambling activities. Other noteworthy violations include: incomplete or completely lacking staff training in AML policies and best practices, insufficient data and gaming systems protections against security vulnerabilities, and the list goes on.
AGCO is tasked with ensuring that casinos are “operating with honesty, integrity, and in the public interest.” According to the AGCO statement, “The standards exist to protect Ontarians, and audits of gaming operators are one of the tools the AGCO regularly uses as part of its regulatory oversight of the gaming industry”. To ensure that all the alleged findings are being addressed, the AGCO will be “carefully monitoring the casino’s activities,” but a final date to complete all the internal changes hasn’t been specifically cited. And so, after the completion of AGCO’s audit, HR Ottawa LP was fined a hefty sum.
Rideau Carleton Casino has, on its end, also made a statement. As per CTV News Ottawa’s report, general manager Helen MacMillan has that the “majority of issues” uncovered during the audit have been quickly and “aggressively” addressed. She was cited saying that “Rideau Carleton Casino takes this matter extremely seriously,” again – using strong language to affirm the company’s readiness to clean up its act. As per the statement, there has also been some “change in personnel” as part of the remediation process.
Big Numbers Galore in AGCO Casino Fines
This is not the only six-figure gaming fine made by AGCO, however. It’s not the only one these last 30 days, even. Just at the beginning of this month, we saw DraftKings fined CAD$100,000 in Ontario as well. The company received its own Notice of Monetary Penalty – the standard document issued to operators in such cases – with the six-figure number.
In DraftKings’ case, reported reasons for the huge fine were breaches of the Standards for Internet Gaming, also created and monitored by the AGCO. DraftKings’ shortcomings came from following the rules for advertisement.
According to regulation, all types of gaming inducements and bonuses, as well as generally all promotional materials, shall only be served after explicit consent by individual customers. However, DraftKings seems to have dropped the ball during the NHL playoffs, between May 19 and May 31, airing advertisements on TV, and promoting odds as boosters on its own website. The company issued a statement confirming it had removed said bonuses as soon as it was brought to its attention that it was breaching regulations.