DraftKings Hit With CA$100,000 Inducements and Advertising Fine in Canada

  • Ontario regulator the AGCO has issued a fine worth CA$100,000 (US$77,441) to DraftKings 
  • The operator aired numerous gambling inducements through social media and television
  • DraftKings can appeal the fine but an exec said the firm is committed to staying in line
  • BetMGM and PointsBet have previously received AGCO fines for advertising-related violations
DraftKings icon
The AGCO has fined DraftKings Canada CA$100,000 (US$77,441) for violating gambling inducements and advertising standards. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Advertising violations

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued a fine of CA$100,000 (US$77,441) to DraftKings Canada. The Canadian gaming regulator announced the action on Thursday as a result of inducements and advertising standards violations.

aired numerous gambling inducements

The AGCO cited a specific infraction from the Register’s Standards for Internet Gaming, occurring from May 19-31 this year. DraftKings aired numerous gambling inducements through social media and television offering enhanced odds during the NHL playoffs.

The province’s regulations ban operators from advertising any forms of bonuses or inducements except for when a user is on the operator’s website or if an individual has consented to receive marketing material directly.

Holding operators to a high standard

Speaking to Sports Handle, DraftKings senior director of corporate affairs James Chisholm said that the operator is committed to staying in line with all regulations. He asserted that the firm took immediate action after being alerted of the infractions. DraftKings has the ability to appeal the penalty to the License Appeal Tribunal. 

DraftKings went live with its online casino and sportsbook in Ontario on May 18. This was more than one month after the April 4 launch of the regulated online gambling market in Ontario.

In the press release announcing the penalty action, AGCO registrar and CEO Tom Mungham said that the regulator will continue to hold all licensed operators to a high standard. He said: “It is in the public interest that we ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”

Other operators hit with fines

DraftKings is not the only operator to get an AGCO fine since the Ontario market’s launch. Both BetMGM and PointsBet received penalties for also violating inducement and advertising regulations. BetMGM received a CA$48,000 (US$37,464) fine, while PointsBet Canada had to pay CA$30,000 (US$23,232). 

numerous instances of marketing materials that violated regulations

BetMGM’s penalty resulted from numerous instances of marketing materials that violated regulations. In handing down its ruling, the AGCO stated that all materials “must be truthful, not mislead players, or misrepresent products, including materials that imply that chances of winning increase the more one spends.”

After his company received its fine, PointsBet Canada’s CEO Scott Vanderwel apologized for the issues and put the errors down to misinterpreting the regulations. Ontario operators had previously raised concerns regarding the industry standards, with some seeking clarification on certain aspects prior to launch.

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