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Ontario Gaming Operators are Outraged with ‘Due Diligence’ Bank Charges

Manny Wood

Ontario’s iGaming operators have expressed dissatisfaction with iGaming Ontario’s (iGO) actions after receiving invoices for bank fees charged as part of its “due diligence” process. The operators were informed last month that if they launched their operations before Dec. 31, they would receive an invoice from iGO ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 based on iGO’s estimated annual GGR.

According to iGO, these bank fees are for the “due diligence processes it conducts before operators can begin to make deposits to iGO bank accounts.” However, operators have taken issue with the application of Section 5.5.2 of the Finance Policy, Chargeback of Fees, and the lack of transparency surrounding these charges.

Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, has written to iGO on behalf of the operators to express their displeasure. He expressed the opinion that unexpected surprises or unplanned costs, regardless of their size, disrupt long termed coordinated and calculated business plans. The situation is also exacerbated by the fact that none of the operators weren’t informed by banks and didn’t know that due diligence was being conducted.

In response to an enquiry by Gaming News Canada, iGO declined to comment due to the confidential nature of its operating agreement(s) with operators. Amanda Brewer, Canadian Country Manager at Kindred Group, has also expressed frustration with the banks, saying “An industry created by the province to generate jobs, economic development and revenue was ignored. What message does this send to other enterprises and other business spheres that want to do business in Ontario?”

It is worth mentioning that each iGaming operator is required to pay a regulatory of the province fee of $100,000 annually per each Web gambling parlour. Moreover, all regulatory fees are non-refundable. Also, additional regulatory costs can be applied to registered Operators. Any iGaming entity that applies to IGO may be required to pay the reasonable costs of an investigation prior to processing their application. The goal of iGO is to balance out the expenses incurred in regulating internet gaming. Every operator is expected to prepare for potential supplementary fees to cover these costs.

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