The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has served Ontario Gaming GTA Limited Partnership (“Casino Woodbine”) with notice of a Monetary Penalty totaling $80,000, following allegations of a cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme at Toronto’s Woodbine Casino.
In April 2023, the Ontario Provincial Police Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB), embedded within the AGCO, laid charges against five individuals. The charges follow an investigation into allegations that an electronic craps dealer at Woodbine Casino was in collusion with these patrons.
The AGCO’s Regulatory Compliance Branch subsequently conducted an in-depth compliance review to assess Casino Woodbine’s adherence to the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (the Act) and Registrar’s Standards for Gaming. The Registrar found that Casino Woodbine failed to detect or take appropriate action on available information to prevent the cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme, including:
- internal financial reports and emails indicating substantial and atypical losses from the electronic craps game over a six-month period of time, which were not effectively acted upon;
- table games supervisors were often absent from the craps table when suspicious gambling activities occurred;
- video surveillance recordings showing that the electronic craps game failed to follow required rules and procedures and lacked effective supervision;
- although Casino Woodbine had issued the dealer with seven procedural violations for inappropriately pushing dice to patrons before closing bets, the dealer was allowed to continue dealing electronic craps during that time.
Casino Woodbine fully cooperated with the AGCO’s regulatory review and has committed to addressing deficiencies.
Ontario’s gaming laws require casino operators to implement effective controls to limit the risk of criminal activity, including cheating and collusion between patrons and casino staff. In addition to these penalties, the AGCO will continue monitoring to ensure Casino Woodbine appropriately addresses their controls to better detect and prevent casino cheats and dealer collusion.
A casino operator served with a Notice of an issued Monetary Penalty by the AGCO has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), which is an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.
The Registrar issued a Monetary Penalty for multiple alleged violations of the Act, which arise from non-compliance with the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming:
- Standard 4.3, paragraph 2, requiring operators to have adequate supervision in place to ensure adherence to required procedures, including rules of play.
- Standard 4.14, requiring that operators have mechanisms in place to deter, prevent and detect collusion and cheating;
- Standard 6.1 paragraph 1, requiring that operators conduct risk assessments to determine the potential for unlawful activities, including money laundering, fraud, theft and cheat at plays.