In a bid to uphold the integrity and responsible operation of Ontario's internet gaming (igaming) market, the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has taken decisive action against BV Gaming Limited and Fitzdares Canada Limited.
Both operators have been served Notices of Monetary Penalty amounting to $30,000 for allegedly violating the Registrar's Standards for Internet Gaming (the Standards) by offering prohibited bets on Canadian major junior hockey leagues.
A Breach of Standards
During the 2022-23 season, BV Gaming Limited and Fitzdares Canada Limited are alleged to have offered numerous bets on games from the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
However, the AGCO's Standards expressly prohibit bets on minor league sports, including the three major junior hockey leagues of the Canadian Hockey League. By contravening these Standards, the operators have raised concerns about the integrity of the betting market and the potential risks associated with wagering on minor league sports.
Commitment to Protecting Public Interest
The AGCO, as the regulatory authority overseeing Ontario's sports betting industry, is committed to preserving the integrity of sports betting and safeguarding the public interest.
By maintaining a strict prohibition on betting on minor league sports, including Canadian major junior hockey, the AGCO aims to ensure the fairness and transparency of the betting market. Such measures help prevent potential corruption and maintain public trust in the sports betting industry.
Legal Ramifications and Appeal Process
As per AGCO regulations, operators served with a Notice of Monetary Penalty have the right to appeal the Registrar's action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT).
The LAT is an independent adjudicative tribunal that operates separately from the AGCO. It provides operators with a fair opportunity to present their case and challenge the penalties imposed.
Statement from the AGCO
Dave Phillips, the Chief Operating Officer of the AGCO, reiterated the organization's commitment to ensuring the integrity of sports betting in Ontario. Phillips emphasized that the prohibition on betting on minor league sports, such as Canadian major junior hockey, is a crucial measure to protect both the integrity of sports and the interests of bettors.
He further affirmed that the AGCO will continue to closely monitor Ontario's sports betting markets to ensure compliance with the established regulations and to safeguard the public interest.
Infractions and Penalties
BV Gaming Limited and Fitzdares Canada Limited have been accused of offering numerous bets on the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), covering all three major junior hockey leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League.
As a result of these alleged infractions, BV Gaming Limited and Fitzdares Canada Limited have each been served with an Order of Monetary Penalty totaling $15,000. These penalties have been determined based on the Registrar's assessment of the specific circumstances and in accordance with the AGCO Board Guidelines.
Future Outlook and Compliance
The AGCO remains resolute in its commitment to maintaining the integrity of Ontario's sports betting industry and protecting the public interest. By diligently enforcing the Standards for Internet Gaming, the AGCO aims to prevent unlawful activities and promote responsible gambling practices.
Operators within the industry are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the regulations and comply with the established guidelines to avoid potential penalties and preserve the integrity of the betting market.
As Ontario's internet gaming market continues to evolve, the AGCO's proactive measures serve as a reminder of the importance of compliance and responsible operation. The penalties imposed on BV Gaming Limited and Fitzdares Canada Limited highlight the AGCO's commitment to upholding the highest standards in sports betting and protecting the interests of bettors and the integrity of the sport.
Moving forward, the AGCO will remain vigilant in monitoring Ontario's sports betting markets to ensure transparency, fairness, and adherence to the established regulations.