Gambling Legislation

Ontario alters iGaming advertising rules for operators

Gambling continues to be treated as a topic that shouldn’t be seen

The province of Ontario announced on Tuesday that it will ban the use of athletes in online gambling advertising while also boosting standards to restrict the use of celebrities who, according to the government, may appeal to minors.

The opposition NDP and a Canadian senator who advocated for more stringent regulations in the gaming industry say that while it’s a welcome change, it doesn’t go far enough for individuals prone to gambling addiction.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced on Tuesday that the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming has been updated to prohibit the use of celebrities, and the new restrictions will be in effect starting on February 28, 2024.

“Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to,” said AGCO’s registrar and CEO Tom Mungham. “We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”

The Ontario NDP welcomes the decision, saying in a statement that the move “will help protect both children and adults from the explosion of unregulated advertising content under Ford’s Conservatives.”

Bruce Kidd, a University of Toronto professor emeritus of sports and public policy, launched a campaign last May to ban all sports betting ads in Canada. He said while he’s glad the province will soon establish the restrictions, he’s unhappy they won’t be in effect until February.

“Our campaign is for banning ads for gambling in the same way that Canada banned ads for tobacco a generation ago, and for the same health reasons, these products and practices hurt people. We want to minimize, if not eliminate, that harm,” said Kidd.

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