DraftKings Fined in Ontario Over Bonuses in Ads; PokerStars Latest to Launch
Posted on: July 1, 2022, 08:59h.
Last updated on: April 20, 2023, 10:42h.
Gaming officials in Ontario Thursday announced DraftKings had been fined CAD 100,000 ($77,569). That’s after it was alleged the Boston-based sports betting operator violated the Canadian province’s regulations regarding promotions.
DraftKings advertised a 2-to-1 odds boost in television commercials and social media posts, according to a statement issued by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO),
In Ontario, sportsbooks can only promote “inducements,” such as bonuses or credits, on its website or mobile app, or through direct marketing campaigns if the bettor has given them permission.
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,” AGCO CEO and Registrar Tom Mungham said in a statement. “It is in the public interest that we ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”
DraftKings can appeal the ruling to the Ontario License Appeal Tribunal.
Offers Made Shortly After Ontario Launch
AGCO stated that the odds boost was offered from May 19 to May 31. That period starts one day after DraftKings officially launched in the province.
Canada legalized single-game sports betting last year, and Ontario, the nation’s most populous province with nearly 15 million people, opened its doors to private operators. Unlike most US states that have legalized sports betting, Ontario has not put a cap on the number of operators.
The first apps in Ontario went live on April 4, and it was noticeable that DraftKings was not among the early launchers, since it typically is in US markets. However, company officials told investment analysts in May that they did not believe the delay would keep them from gaining market share.
Besides its online sportsbook, DraftKings also operates an iGaming site in Ontario.
DraftKings is not the first operator to be fined in Ontario over advertising issues.
In early May, AGCO fined BetMGM CAD 48,000 ($37,232) for several tweets that promoted casino bonuses, as well as a tweet that regulators deemed misled players because it said, “The more money you put in per bet, the higher your chance is of winning.”
At the same time, PointsBet was fined CAD 30,000 ($23,270) for posters on Toronto-area public transit trains and train stations that offered a way to play for free.
PokerStars Launch a Homecoming of Sorts
As of Friday, 22 operators have been approved to operate iGaming apps in Ontario, with several of them offering sports betting, an online casino, and online poker on separate apps.
The newest entry launched earlier this week when PokerStars announced it received permission from AGCO to launch poker, casino, and sports betting sites.
In some ways, the launch brought the Flutter Entertainment brand full circle, as the first online hand PokerStars dealt happened in the province more than 20 years ago. Tom Warren, managing director of marketing for PokerStars, said the company is happy to be back in a “new regulated environment.”
“”A lot has changed in that time, but our commitment to offering our players the most epic and thrilling experience in the market hasn’t – and we can’t wait to get started,” Warren said.
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