Apollo, a prominent operator in the online gambling landscape, has been subjected to a record fine levied by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). This punitive action reflects the seriousness of the alleged breaches, underlining the commitment of the AGCO to uphold fair and responsible gaming standards.
Apollo’s Response to Allegations
In response to the regulatory findings, Apollo acted promptly and diligently to strengthen its control environment on its sites. The AGCO noted the company’s willingness to rectify the identified issues, which underscores Apollo’s commitment to adhering to the highest industry standards.
The Role of the AGCO
The AGCO’s mission is to ensure that Ontarians have access to a fair, responsible, and secure online gambling environment. “All registered operators are mandated to proactively monitor patron play for signs of high-risk gambling, and must take appropriate actions to intervene and reduce the potential for gambling-related harm,” stated Tom Mungham, CEO and Registrar of the AGCO.
The severity of the fine against Apollo, which is significantly higher than any fine previously imposed, is indicative of the gravity of the allegations. Earlier this year, Fitzdares Canada and BV Gaming received a Notice of Monetary Penalty for alleged breaches of standards related to minor league sports. Meanwhile, LeoVegas Gaming, Bunchberry, and Mobile Incorporated were penalised for offering unapproved games on their Ontario sites. However, the highest fine amongst these breaches was just $30,000, less than a third of the penalty imposed on Apollo.
The Appeal Process
Apollo retains the option to challenge the Registrar’s action at the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), an adjudicative entity independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario. This process ensures that operators have the necessary recourse, fostering a balanced and fair regulatory environment.
The AGCO’s recent actions highlight its dedication to maintaining integrity within the online gambling industry. Simultaneously, the regulator’s actions serve to remind all operators of their obligations and the consequences of failing to comply with established standards.
The AGCO’s commitment to upholding high standards in the online gambling industry is commendable. It sends a strong message that operators must be responsible, and that failure to comply with prescribed regulations will not be tolerated. All registered Ontario-based gambling operators should take heed of this example and ensure their practices align with the regulator’s rules.