BetMGM, PointsBet Fined for Ontario Sports Betting Advertising

BetMGM, PointsBet Fined for Ontario Sports Betting Advertising article feature image

Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Rogers Centre.

Major U.S. sportsbooks are already breaking Ontario's strict rules on advertising, just a month in.

BetMGM and PointsBet were fined a combined CAN$78,000 by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, for violating the agency's Standard for Internet Gaming, according to a Tuesday release.

“The AGCO holds all registered operators to high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity, and monitors their activities to ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards,” AGCO CEO Tom Mungham said in the release.

Online sports betting in Ontario went live April 4, making it the first and only Canadian province to regulate the industry. Its regulations however incorporate a number of strict prohibitions on advertising bonuses and other incentives to bet.

Promotions can only be displayed on a sportsbooks website or app and cannot be marketed elsewhere to attract bettors.

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BetMGM is on the hook for CAN$48,000 for multiple tweet-related violations including:

  • Twice tweeting out a $100,000 casino bonus for the winner of its "250k Launch Party"
  • Three tweets promoting a $10 in casino free play in exchange for $25 bets
  • Two tweets promoting a a “Jimi Hendrix Free Spin Friday”, including a chance to win 100 free spins in return for following a twitter account
  • A tweet stating that “the more money you put in per bet, the higher your chance is of winning”

PointsBet will pay CAN$30,000 after advertising free play on Canada's GO metro systems.

“On behalf of PointsBet Canada, I personally apologize for our error made in the interpretation of the standards set forth by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) leading to this outcome," CEO of PointsBet Canada Scott Vanderwel CEO of PointsBet Canada said in a statement. "I am appreciative of the considerable efforts made by our local team and close partners to remediate the issue once we were notified."

BetMGM did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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