Penalties amounting to CA$70,000 ($51,717) have been imposed on three iGaming operators after it was established that they had collectively failed to carry out integrity audits on the slots they offer before making them available to their customers. According to the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the operators should have independently approved slot games based on an integrity pass but that did not happen.
LeoVegas has been accused of including an uncertified game on its gaming database which is available to online bettors. The Ontarian gaming site was offering a game that lacked the proper approval protocol and is therefore in breach of the online gaming standard of operations. For being an accessory to this level of misconduct, the management of the platform is required to pay a fine of CA$25,000.
Bunchberry Limited also found itself on the wrong side of the regulator when it was established that some uncertified games were hosted on their gaming site. For a casino slot title to be considered as properly certified, it must have been tested by an independent laboratory that establishes its conformity to certain regulations. Since a couple of games were discovered to lack this certification, a penalty of CA$15,000 was imposed on the operator.
The other online casino brand that was caught up in the slot games approval saga is Mobile Incorporated Limited that was allegedly providing uncertified games on its platform. The number of games affected is still not clear but the situation is made worse by the fact that suppliers involved were also not registered with AGCO. For these anomalies, the company must part with a penalty amount of CA$30,000.
According to the CEO and Registrar of AGCO, Tom Mungham, AGCO requires all operators registered as gambling providers to uphold a high standard of responsible gambling. They are also supposed to subscribe to gaming integrity and ensure player protection at all levels of their operations. On their part, AGCO looks out for the interests of the players by monitoring the activities of players in the market much to the safety of Ontarians.
One of the most critical features of the regulator’s regulatory framework is that operators running businesses in this market should source games from registered gaming suppliers. The acceptable suppliers should have been certified by an AGCO-registered sovereign testing laboratory to meet the highest standards of game integrity. For Ontarians who are keen on playing on playing on sites that have been tested and approved, this regulator exists to ensure that their worries are calmed.
By fining operators that have been complacent with approval, the management of AGCO assures casino players that they are dealing with credible brands that have willingly been tested for compliance. Games being offered on such sites are guaranteed to be safe and the outcomes of play are therefore fair. This makes sense to all games and especially those that are relatively new in the market. By creating a fair and uniform gaming landscape, the Ontario gambling administration is launching a legacy of transparency that will form the basis of its growth.
The gaming scene in Ontario is just starting out and even the operators that run gaming outfits in the region are yet to get into the rhythm of business. This is expected because the market was recently legalized on 4 April 2022 and the rest of Canada has their eyes on how this area will perform before they can scale. For investors that had been looking for proof of business prowess, the healthy CA$1.4bn in total gaming revenue reported from Ontario says it all.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is an agency that oversees the regulation and licensing of gambling operators in Ontario, Canada. By keeping on top of horse racing, gaming, alcohol, and retail cannabis in the state, the interests of both providers and consumers are protected. The commission operates under direction from the office of the Attorney General to regulate a division focused on the new iGaming market that is opening up across the country, known as iGaming Ontario (iGO).
When the Alcohol, Cannabis and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act was enacted in 1998, it was necessary to launch an implementing body and that is how AGCO was launched. The current organizational structure of the commission comprises a chair and six members. At the helm is a Chief Executive Officer who works in tandem with the board members, as well as the larger team in charge of operations.
Recent news on AGCO
A few weeks ago, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) proposed through a notice that it would revoke the license earlier issued to a downtown Kitchener restaurant. According to the regulator, the Afro-East Restaurant, which is situated on Queen Street, was in grave violation of a wide swathe of rules. The CEO of AGCO, Tom Mungham, commented on the matter saying that license holders who do not operate within an acceptable code of honesty and integrity will face serious consequences.
To be fair to its partners, AGCO takes on a compliance approach in matters of regulation when the case at hand has the potential of affecting the safety of patrons. The first object of AGCO is therefore to caution the public against breaches and risks that may arise in the course of running a business. By engaging inspectors regularly, the commission is able to keep abreast of issues in all partner premises. That is how the management of Kitchener was caught pants down – an unauthorized person was observed working at the restaurant. At the same time, the fire department in the area had complained that the backdoor was found to be chained shut, which closed off the emergency exit.
Issuing of licenses is not the end when it comes to regulating the casino industry – most operators require a regular schedule of audits to ensure that the conditions of the approval are upheld throughout. In the event that malpractice is identified the only way to manage it is heavy penalties so as to discourage repeat and occurrence in other brands under the same umbrella.