Unibet Latest to Face AGCO Fine for Alleged Advertising and Inducement Infractions

Unibet Latest to Face AGCO Fine for Alleged Advertising and Inducement Infractions
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Ron Fritz

Unibet has been fined $48,000 by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the latest operator to be hit after alleged advertising and inducement infractions.

In a news release, the AGCO says Unibet Ontario allegedly contravened Standard 2.05 of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, by posting or airing multiple broad gambling inducements promoting “generous welcome offers” between May 19-22. 

“We expect all registered operators to achieve and maintain the high standards of responsible gambling, player protection and game integrity,” said AGCO chief executive officer Tom Mungham in a statement. “The AGCO will continue to monitor these gaming sites’ activities, and ensure they are meeting their obligations under Ontario’s Gaming Control Act and the Standards.”

The parent company of Unibet, Kindred Group, acknowledged the error.

“Kindred erred in its interpretation of inducement language when it developed advertising to launch Unibet in the Ontario market,” Amanda Brewer, Kindred country manager for Canada, said in a statement. “We regret we were non-compliant with an important AGCO standard, and we will strengthen our internal processes to ensure we stay compliant. Kindred always aims to operate with high standards of responsible gambling and player protection, which includes how we market our products to our customers.”

DraftKings Ontario was fined $100,000 in June for this. BetMGM Canada and PointsBet Canada were fined $48,000 and $30,000 in May, respectively, for alleged infractions of the standards. 

Rivalry Releases Second Quarter Results

Rivalry this week announced its financial results for the second quarter period ended June 30. Betting handle was $38.4 million CAD, up 98% year over year. Gross gaming revenue was $5.3 million, a 60% year-over-year increase. Record gross profit was $2.1 million, an increase of 206% year-over-year.

In Ontario sports betting so far, since the April 4 market launch, Rivalry CEO and co-founder Steven Salz told investors and analysts that the company will continue with its walk-before-run approach to the rollout in the province.

“[On Ontario], relative to the spend we put out, it’s been okay,” Salz said. “Definitely it’s been slightly more challenging than we expected for sure, on a couple of different fronts. Not from a customer acquisition perspective, more the layers of regulations in terms of how you can market, what you can say, what you can’t say.

“And from customer experience, there is a lot of additive friction in the onboarding and overall customer funnel than what we have experienced in other jurisdictions. We have definitely had more challenges on that side than we anticipated. But relative to total spend, which has been pretty small, I wouldn’t say we are overly disappointed, but certainly it’s been different than we anticipated over the first couple of months.”

Into the third quarter, through July, the company reports $23.4 million of betting handle, an all-time single-month record, up 66% month-over-month and a 162% increase year-over-year.

Mobile App on the Way

Rivalry is based in Toronto and operates a global team in more than 20 countries. Rivalry holds a sports bookmaker license in Australia and an internet gaming registration in Ontario and is currently in the process of obtaining additional country licenses. 

Salz says the company will release its mobile app in Ontario in October or November, which he says will help to drive further customer activity and overall adoption. He says as the company continues to ramp up in the province, where online gambling in Ontario is also legal, by taking in feedback, conducting user testing, building brand awareness, it will increase spend accordingly as targets are hit.

“The enormous dump of promotions and bonuses in the first month or two made it really difficult for sportsbooks to stand out from one another. It didn’t equate to returns to justify that spend [for a lot of them],” Salz said. “We’re happy with having been extremely conservative on our spend, you’re talking about a couple of hundred grand, from the launch of Ontario until today. We’ll continue to take a methodical approach that suits our strategy and our customer base.”

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Contributors

Mark Keast

Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.