Please Wait, Loading Content...

Celebrities could be given flick as Ontario regulator considers law changes

Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzy BETMGM advertisement

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has granted an extension to the deadline for industry stakeholders to provide feedback on proposed changes to internet gaming advertising in Ontario.

The initial deadline of May 8 has been moved to Monday, allowing more time for valuable input and insight from stakeholders.

The subject of internet gaming advertising within the regulated Ontario market has recently attracted considerable attention, with a particular focus on the frequency and content of these advertisements.

The AGCO’s objective is to introduce alterations to internet gambling advertising standards, specifically by prohibiting the use of athletes and celebrities in advertising and marketing campaigns within the province. 

This proposed change aims to minimise potential harm to vulnerable individuals, particularly youth. The AGCO encourages industry stakeholders to participate in the consultation process through its engagement portal, enabling them to express their opinions and thoughts on the proposed adjustments.

Should the AGCO’s proposed changes be implemented, various advertisements featuring celebrities would be discontinued. Examples include the Jamie Foxx BetMGM ads, the Auston Matthews ads for Bet99, the ads featuring Jon Lovitz, Russell Peters, and Patrick J. Adams for theScore Bet, and the ads featuring Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad” for bet365.

The reactions to the AGCO’s proposal have been mixed, leading to the decision to extend the consultation deadline. Aly Lalani, head of marketing for BetRegal, expressed surprise and suggested that instead of a complete ban on brand ambassadors and influencers, the focus should be on ensuring that their messages reach the intended audience while avoiding exposure to vulnerable individuals. Lalani emphasized the value of a data-driven and inclusive discussion involving all stakeholders, including operators.

Meanwhile, the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) has expressed its support for the AGCO’s review of internet gambling advertising and marketing standards, placing particular emphasis on the influence of athlete and celebrity endorsements on young individuals.

Shelley White, CEO of the RGC, stressed the importance of achieving a balance between operator advertising and prevention education targeted at vulnerable populations, such as young adults. The aim is to raise awareness about the risks associated with gambling and provide accessible support.

There have been calls for a complete ban on internet gaming advertising. NDP MP Brian Masse advocates for prohibiting ads featuring NHL stars and other sports celebrities, while the Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling seeks a comprehensive ban, drawing parallels to restrictions on tobacco and cannabis ads.

Experts in marketing hold different perspectives on the matter. Professor David Soberman, the Canadian National Chair in Strategic Marketing at the Rotman School of Management, believes that adolescents lack the necessary judgment to differentiate between positive and negative influences. 

The concern arises when active celebrities like Matthews and Connor McDavid promote gambling, as they possess significant appeal to younger audiences. However, Soberman does not view the AGCO’s proposed changes as a step toward an outright ban on gambling advertising. 

Instead, he foresees increased regulation and emphasizes the importance of society being cautious about marketing activities that can harm youths. Soberman acknowledges that laws have lagged behind in addressing the risks associated with gaming marketing.

Ontario was one of the first Canadian provinces to legalise sports betting and they are now grappling with the ramifications of it, like much of the world and their battle to rein in sports betting sites advertising campaigns.

More gambling news

, , , , ,
Share this post on:

Join the Betting Planet team!

Are you passionate about sports betting? Sports news writers required TODAY!

Experienced preferred but not essential. (All apps considered).

View Careers at Race Media
  • Live Betting Odds
  • Claim a 50% deposit bonus up to the value of USD $250

Top Online Casinos