Hard Rock Ottawa fined 4K for allegedly advertising to self-excluded people, AML policies failures

Hard Rock Ottawa fined $174K for allegedly advertising to self-excluded people, AML policies failures

Ontario’s regulator has served Hard Rock Casino Ottawa a CAD 227,250 ($174,337) fine. The penalty follows an audit by the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which uncovered that the Rideau Carleton Casino has allegedly committed 36 violations of the Canadian province’s gaming standards

Hard Rock Casino Ottawa has allegedly sent advertising and marketing material to people who had opted into a self-exclusion program. AGCO’s audit also claims that the operator repeatedly failed to implement or enforce policies to deter money laundering, and “failed to sufficiently protect gaming systems and data from security vulnerabilities.”

It is also alleged that Hard Rock failed to ensure its staff completed training on important issues, such as how to prevent money laundering. The penalty served to the operator was the largest fine levied against one of the province’s casino operators in recent history, according to AGCO officials.  

Tom Mungham, AGCO’s chief executive officer and registrar

“The AGCO has the mandate and the responsibility to ensure casinos are operating with honesty, integrity, and in the public interest,” said Tom Mungham, AGCO’s chief executive officer and registrar. “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, said Wednesday the organization takes the matter “extremely seriously,” and assured it has been in regular communication with the regulator, working actively to address all issues. 

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,” she stated, as reported by Canada.com. 

Hard Rock Casino Ottawa has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Rideau Casino since 2017. The property features more than 1,200 slot machines and is home to electronic table games, including blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps. 

The city council has already approved Hard Rock’s plan for a sizable expansion of the casino, and the addition of an eight-story hotel, a 1,600-seat theater and more than 4,000 square meters of new restaurants.