Ontario bans use of celebrities in online gambling ads

30 August 2023
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announces changes in order to protect minors.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announces changes in order to protect minors.

Forever, companies have been using celebrities in advertisements to catch the attention of their target audience. And who could blame them, as the ultimate goal is to make money, and the use of well-known stars help create trust and brand awareness.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario; however, has a different goal. It’s to protect minors from iGaming advertising and marketing strategies. Yesterday, the AGCO updated the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming to prohibit the use of athletes, celebrities, role models, social media influencers, entertainers, cartoon figures, and symbols in internet gaming advertising and marketing in the Canadian province. These amended standards will go into effect on 28 February 2024.
This came to light after the AGCO noticed that iGaming companies were using athletes, who appeal to minors, in advertising campaigns.
In April 2023, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario held consultations of its proposal to ban such advertisements and received submissions from a broad range of stakeholders including mental health and public health organizations, responsible gaming experts, gaming operators, broadcast and marketing groups, and the public. As a result of this research, the AGCO amended the standards.
Active or retired athletes will only be able to be featured in advertisements that promote responsible gambling practices.
“Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to,” said Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO, AGCO. “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 complete list of the additions to the AGCO’s Standards for Internet Gaming are:
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. (Also applicable to Gaming-Related Suppliers)
Requirements – At a minimum, materials and communications shall?not:
1. Be based on themes, or use language, intended to appeal primarily to?minors.
2. Appear on billboards or other outdoor displays that are directly adjacent to schools or other primarily youth-oriented?locations.?
3. Use or contain cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities, or entertainers who would likely be expected to appeal to?minors. [This requirement has been changed]
4. Use active or retired athletes, who have an agreement or arrangement made directly or indirectly between an athlete and an operator or gaming-related supplier, in advertising and marketing except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices. [This requirement is new]
5. Use individuals who are, or appear to be, minors to promote?gaming.
6. Appear in media and venues, including on websites, and in digital or online media, directed primarily to minors, or where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be minors.
7. Exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of all potentially high-risk persons, or otherwise extoll the virtues of?gaming.
8. Entice or attract potentially high-risk players. Instead, measures shall be in place to limit marketing communications to all known high-risk players. [This requirement has been changed]

Jarrod LeBlanc

Jarrod serves as Casino City's associate editor and helps produce and edit all of our weekly newsletters, as well as the GPWA Times Magazine. He has more than six years of experience as a writer and editor and enjoys playing fantasy sports, but spends most of his time with his family, running and coaching youth sports. Contact Jarrod at jarrod@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityJL.