Ontario Bans Influential Celebrities and Athletes from Appearing on Betting Adverts

Article by Lisa Cheban
Appearing on Betting Adverts
Last Updated: Feb 19th, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Lisa Cheban | 18 September, 2023 18:14 | Last update on: 14 September, 2023 18:14

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has updated its Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming. The new update restricts any influential public figure from appearing in betting-related adverts in the Canadian province. This means that famous celebrities and star athletes will no longer be part of betting marketing materials starting February 28, 2024.

Following this regulatory change, betting/gambling operators in Ontario, Canada, will no longer be permitted to use active or retired athletes to advertise their products. However, the law allows them to do so exclusively when promoting responsible gaming practices.

Those who can no longer feature on gambling promotions include:

  • Celebrities
  • Social media influencers
  • Popular cartoons
  • Symbols that are popular among underage groups

As expected, the announced changes are part of the effort to lessen the possibility of gambling harm to children. The AGCO believes that underage persons might find these popular characters in betting advertisements appealing, increasing the chances of widespread underage gambling in Ontario.

In April, the industry regulator identified the risks of famous characters appearing in betting adverts. The AGCO then proceeded to launch far-reaching consultations about a potential ban with stakeholders, health organizations, responsible gaming specialists, gambling operators, and advertising groups. The regulator also consulted the general public before reaching this conclusion.

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

It’s also worth noting that the revised Standards for Internet Gaming lists several other requirements that betting operators must follow to protect children from gambling. These include limiting the use of language that might appeal to underage persons and advertising their products outside youth-oriented establishments like schools. The AGCO is expected to release more details in the coming days.

The Ontario regulator has recently been acting tough by fining regulators who fail to honour its gaming standards. At the start of the month, Apollo Entertainment Limited was fined $100,000 for multiple responsible gambling failures. For example, the regulator accused Apollo of failing to implement adequate self-exclusion program measures.

This new approach comes when the AGCO prepares to usher in Dr. Karin Schnarr as its new Registrar and CEO starting September 18, 2023. The academic giant will take over from Tom Mugham, who announced his retirement earlier in the year to focus on personal matters.

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