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Ottawa’s Hard Rock Casino fined for violating gaming laws

Hard Rock Ottawa was issued a fine penalty of over $172k for allegedly breaking 36 gaming laws in the province of Ontario. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) discovered the breaches during a recent inspection of the Rideau Carleton Casino.

The Rideau Carleton Casino’s day-to-day operations were transferred to the authority of the Hard Rock Casino in Ottawa in 2017.

It is alleged the Canadian casino in Ottawa sent promotional and advertising material to individuals who had previously participated in a program known as self-exclusion. This initiative is intended to assist problem gamblers in staying away from casinos.

In addition, the AGCO inspection states that the Hard Rock Casino Ottawa failed to properly safeguard gaming systems and data from security threats and repeatedly failed to implement or apply measures to curb money laundering.

It is also claimed that the operator did not make certain that its workers had received enough training on significant matters, such as anti-money laundering (AML), nor did they establish a compliance oversight mechanism that was independent of the company’s activities as is required by the regulations.

The Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of AGCO, Tom Mungham, stated that the regulatory body would keep a close eye on the activities taken by the casino operator to guarantee that the audit’s concerns would be rectified.

“The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has the mandate and the responsibility to ensure casinos are operating with honesty, integrity, and in the public interest,” Mungham said in a press release on Wednesday.

“These penalties are intended to drive the improvements needed at the Rideau Carleton Casino, and we will be carefully monitoring the casino’s activities to ensure these significant audit findings are addressed.”

Helen MacMillan, general manager of the Rideau Carleton Casino, provided a statement to CTV News in which she stated that the bulk of the deficiencies linked to the audit had been actively rectified.

“Rideau Carleton Casino takes this matter extremely seriously. We have been in regular communication with the AGCO and have been working actively and definitively to address all issues,” MacMillan said. “The majority of issues related to the audit have been aggressively corrected, including and not limited to, change in personnel. We will continue to improve and address any and all regulatory issues to ensure full compliance moving forward.”

In the last few weeks, the AGCO has also issued fines pertaining to Ontario’s newly regulated online gaming and wagering industry. Initially, the AGCO sanctioned PointsBet Canada and BetMGM, and then it issued a penalty to DraftKings for suspected violations of advertising rules.

However, the penalties that will be imposed on Hard Rock Ottawa will be far more severe than those other fines. DraftKings was issued a punishment of $100,000, while BetMGM and PointsBet Canada were both given fines of $48,000 and $30,000, respectively.

The Hard Rock Casino Ottawa is open all year round, 24/7, and has over 1,200 slot machines. Additionally, it has electronic table games, such as blackjack, roulette, and craps, and baccarat.

The plan that Hard Rock presented to the city council for a significant expansion of the casino, which includes the installation of an eight-story hotel, a theater with 1,600 seats, and more than 4,000 square meters of extra dining space, has already been authorized.

According to a representative for the province’s alcohol and gambling commission, the Hard Rock Casino Ottawa has until August 3 to file an appeal with the province’s License Appeal Tribunal about the matter.

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