Ontario Bettors Exploit Self-Exclusion Loophole

Ontario Bettors Exploit Self-Exclusion Loophole

The Ontario regulated online gambling market is only 3 months old but has already faced a number of issues. The latest problem comes from an exploit by Ontario bettors of the self exclusion program. It seems that bettors have found a way to ‘cheat’ the system by  self-excluding, requesting that they have their money returned, and then, using the funds at another sportsbook. 

The whole problem seems to center around the ability of bettors to avoid paying for losing bets by self exclusion. Based on the current rules, when a player self-excludes from an online sportsbook the stake which is used to place the bet will be instantly refunded. 

Going further, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s standards state that every online sportsbook in the province needs to have a self-exclusion program. Self exclusion is meant to provide gambler relief from overextending their losses. Thus, the program cancels all pending and future transactions and transfers the money back to the players. This unfortunately also acts as a loophole which can be abused by players if they see that one of their bets is about to lose. 

Right now the self-exclusion program allows you to choose the length of time for which you want to be excluded. The program works across all Ontario online casinos/sportsbooks and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation sites, like Proline+. The self-exclusion program also shields bettors from all OLG marketing and uses photo recognition to prohibit them from live in-person casinos.

The AGCO has reportedly entered a review stage of the self-exclusion standards in Ontario after the bet loophole had been exposed.

Possible solutions?

The most logical solution put forward by the AGCO is to create a centralized self-exclusion program for all online sportsbooks and casinos in Ontario. There is currently no self-exclusion mechanism that works across all brands. By creating a centralized self-exclusion program it will stop bettors from being able to sell out of losing bets and then go to another gambling site and place a bet on the opposite side. The self-exclusion will be universal and if a bettor excludes themselves from one sportsbook, this will be the same for all other sites.

While this solution may seem simple, it would require quite a bit of work on the side of the AGCO. Each gambling site would have to provide lists of their customers and each customer will have to be cross-referenced with other sites. 

We can expect a long-term solution soon but in the near future the ACGO might well need to make an amendment to their self-exclusion program, at least for a short period. 

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