DraftKings Fined $100,000 in Ontario For Breach of Advertising Codes

DraftKings, the online daily fantasy sports and sportsbook operator, has been issued with a $100,000 fine for breach of its license by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

The newly-licensed operator becomes the third to be hit with such a penalty after BetMGM and PointsBet received similar treatment back in May.

Draft King’s fine is in response to a violation of Standard 2.05 which prohibits the advertisement of inducements to bet including free bets, bonuses, credits or enhanced odds, except when the offer appears on the operator’s own website.

Between May 19th and May 31st 2022, DraftKings promoted an enhanced odds offer during the NHL play offs on both TV and Social Media which is a clear breach of the rules.

CEO and registrar of the AGCO, Tom Mungham, said: “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. It is in the public interest that we ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”

Draft Kings have the option to appeal the fine but appear to have accepted the penalty after acknowledging their mistake.

James Chisholm, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at Draft Kings said: “We are committed to complying with all applicable regulations in every jurisdiction in which we operate,” DraftKings said in a statement to LSR. “Upon being informed of the potential issue shortly after our launch, we took immediate action to remove the assets in question.”

Whilst this fine is not good PR for Draft Kings and no doubt the company would prefer to avoid action such as this, in the bigger picture it is a small penalty for a gambling company. In the UK, admittedly a much larger market, fines are regularly issued by the UK Gambling Commission that run into the millions of pounds.

This year, 888 Holdings were fined £9.4 million for responsible gambling and anti-money laundering failings. The AGCO fines are dwarfed by these numbers but revenue figures for the Onatrio market are of course much lower.

We have yet to see official numbers for the first month’s trading which began on April 4th 2022, but anticipate their publication in the coming weeks.

You can find the latest casinos licensed in the province on our Ontario online casinos page and a full list of licensed operators on the iGaming Ontario website.

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