- A twitter user has alleged that PokerStars sent them advertisements while they were self-excluded.
- If everything went as reported, PokerStars is likely in violation of the laws in Ontario, regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
- The AGCO and PokerStars both responded to the user, and further developments could be in the works.
TORONTO – Pokerstars might be in hot water with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario after a customer reported violations of their self-exclusion list policy.
This is unacceptably predatory @StarsSupport
. What worth is your "responsible gambling" when people like me opt out of all gaming promos and games and still, after years of complaining to you about this, get gambling promotions?
— Dr. K (@drkamikaze) July 29, 2022
The customer, who posts on Twitter at @drkamikaze, posted some additional context with regards to their interactions with PokerStars support as well.
So, stars support came to my thread and ask me to allow them to DM, and I did. I want to post the replies, because this has happened to them before when I’ve complained about being sent promos I specifically self-excluded from: every time they gaslight me (blame me). pic.twitter.com/EqVAOzQGDD
— Dr. K (@drkamikaze) July 31, 2022
PokerStars’ defense appears to be that the user in question clicked on the promotions section of their website.
However, PokerStars also seems to acknowledge that they have self-excluded from the program, thus raising the question of why they would mention that @drkamikaze had clicked on the promotion tab.
In a response, @drkamikaze claims to have never clicked the promotions tab on their website at all.
Anyway, I digress, here’s the full reply. pic.twitter.com/JOAqgZKxUn
— Dr. K (@drkamikaze) July 31, 2022
They reiterate this claim further, and also allege that PokerStars is being deliberately deceptive in their communications in an attempt to lay a paper trail indemnifying them from liability.
Now I see why you are trying to gaslight me @StarsSupport. This is a pretty big violation of your license, isn’t it? So you are trying to lay a paper trail claiming that I “specifically opted in” as the law requires.
This is some real depravity. WOW.
I DID NOT OPT IN!!!!
— Dr. K (@drkamikaze) August 1, 2022
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario followed up with @drkamikaze, who claims to have filed a report with them.
PokerStars And AGCO Regulations
If everything went as described by the customer, PokerStars could be in violation of the gambling laws in Ontario.
Section 2.03 of the AGCO Marketing and Advertising guidelines states that:
“Advertising, marketing materials and communications shall not target high-risk, underage or self-excluded persons to participate in lottery schemes, shall not include underage individuals, and shall not knowingly be communicated or sent to high-risk players.”
In addition, Section 2.14.7 states that:
“Operators must, as soon as is practicable, take all reasonable steps to prevent any marketing material, incentives or promotions from being sent to the self-excluded individual for the duration of the self-exclusion period.”
Based on this wording, it seems like it almost wouldn’t even matter whether or not @drkamikaze clicked on the promotion page – self-exclusion lists are sacrosanct, even if the poker player wanted to play, as seen in Section 2.14.9:
“Operators shall take active steps to identify, and if required, remove self-excluded persons from the gaming site when they are found to be in breach of their self-exclusion agreement.”
Section 2.03.7 adds that marketing materials and communications should not:
“Entice or attract potentially high-risk players. Instead, precautions shall be in place to limit marketing communications to all known high-risk players.”
At the very least, PokerStars seems to be violating the spirit of the law. The AGCO will decide whether they violated the letter.