Hard Rock Ottawa Fined $172k For Violating Ontario Gaming Law

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Posted on: July 14, 2022, 02:10h. 

Last updated on: July 14, 2022, 03:09h.

Hard Rock Ottawa has been fined more than $172k for 36 alleged violations of Ontario gaming law. The violations were flagged during a recent audit of its Rideau Carleton Casino by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Hard Rock
Hard Rock’s Rideau Carleton Racetrack surrounded by caution tape, above. The Rideau Carleton Casino was recently found to have violated Ontario Gaming Law. (Image: Reddit)

The no-nos include failing to implement anti-money laundering (AML) training for staff or adequate protection for gaming systems from security vulnerabilities. Both are regulatory requirements in the Canadian province.

According to AGCO, Hard Rock Ottawa ⁠— which is owned by Hard Rock International and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation ⁠— also provided marketing materials to self-excluded individuals.  They failed to maintain independent compliance oversight and “matters of concern” raised by internal auditors.

“These penalties are intended to drive the improvements needed at the Rideau Carleton Casino,” AGCO CEO Tom Mungham said in a press release. “We will be carefully monitoring the casino’s activities to ensure these significant audit findings are addressed.”

Hard Rock Responds

The Rideau Carleton Casino offers slots and electronic and live-action table games, in addition to a poker room and live horse harness racing. The property is currently being redeveloped in partnership with Hard Rock Ottawa.

Hard Rock Ottawa still has a card to play. If it chooses to, it can an appeal to an independent adjudicative group called the License Appeal Tribunal.

However, Rideau Carleton GM Helen MacMillan sounded more contrite than defensive.  She told CTV News Ottawa that the “majority of issues” had already been quickly and “aggressively” addressed.

She also stressed that the casino “takes this matter extremely seriously” and that efforts to clean up its act have included some “change in personnel.”

AGCO has stepped up its regulation enforcement lately, fining DraftKings Canada, an online sportsbook, more than $75k. The penalty was for skirting its advertising rules by promoting odds as boosters on its website during the NHL playoffs.

Hard Rock Keep Expanding

In other news, Hard Rock continues to expand its casino and resort empire. The company recently announced that they’re looking to finance and manage a new casino in Kenosha, Wisc.

Kenosha Landco Co. LLC, a company sharing an address with Hard Rock International, recently agreed to pay up to $100,000 for an option to purchase 60 acres from the Village of Bristol, near Kenosha, for $15 million.

Among its other recent developments, the Seminole Tribe owns or operates more than a dozen US and Canadian Hard Rock casinos. It acquired the Mirage Las Vegas last December, and opened the Hard Rock Bristol, Virginia’s first casino, on July 8, 2022.

It is also building casinos in Bakersfield, Calif., Rockford, Ill., and others in Jamaica and Athens, Greece.

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