AGCO moves to plug loophole in self-exclusion system

by Ralph Trayfalgar Updated:

Following the discovery of a loophole in the province's self-exclusion system, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has immediately moved to review and implement a policy fix. 

The loophole in question involves bettors self-excluding their accounts, withdrawing their funds, and then using those funds to bet at a different sportsbook. Abusing this loophole has allowed players to cheat the system by cancelling pending bets, thereby avoiding having to lose money on losing bets. 

'Playing by the rules'

The AGCO's regulations require all Ontario licensed sportsbooks and online casinos to provide a self-exclusion program for Canadian bettors. This allows players to voluntarily block access to these sites if they find themselves having trouble managing their gambling habits. 

When a player decides to self-exclude themselves from an online sportsbook, the sportsbook cancels all pending transactions and bets and returns all of the funds from their account to the player. It is this immediate withdrawal - which plays completely by the AGCO's rules - that has allowed players to take advantage of the loophole.

It was previously reported by Yahoo writer Jeff Lagerquist that a number of operators had already expressed their concerns to the AGCO, urging the regulator to more clearly specify the definition of "future transactions" in their policies. 

A statement from AGCO spokesperson Raymond Kahnert says that the regulator has been made aware of the problem and is in the process of gathering more information to best adjust its policies.

As part of its efforts to close the self-exclusion loophole, Kahnert revealed the AGCO's plans to launch a centralised self-exclusion system that applies across all online casinos and sportsbooks in the province. Said system does not have a definitive release date at press time, but is expected to launch in the near future.

As the most populous province in Canada, the iGaming market in Ontario holds massive potential for both the province and the industry. It should be no surprise that many of the biggest online casino and sportsbook operators scrambled for a spot to earn a license in the province by the time the market was officially opened to the public on April 4, 2022.

Altenar, PokerStars, and Casumo were the three most recent operators to be granted a license by the AGCO, and the number continues to grow by the month. 

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