Ontario to Clamp Down on iGaming Ads Featuring Athletes and Celebrities

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The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) is considering a regulatory change that would make it illegal for sportsbooks and other iGaming companies to use current or former professional public figures in promotional materials. That rules out future commercials featuring athletes and celebrities.

AGCO also wants to prohibit using celebrities who are “reasonably expected to appeal to minors” in advertising. People in the entertainment industry, on social media, or even in cartoons fall under this category. It seems that the AGCO is not taking any risks when it comes to safeguarding the most vulnerable, members of society, minors.

Of course, there is still room for arbitration over the final form of this proposed regulation. Stakeholders have until May 8 to provide feedback on the plan, and the new regulations will not go into effect until three months after a final decision has been made. However, if it is allowed to proceed, it may have a significant impact on a great number of business operations.

Case in point, because of their widespread appeal among gaming’s target audience, sportsbooks often use former athletes in promotional efforts. Furthermore, they aid in establishing communication channels between sports betting businesses and casual sports fans. However, if this regulation is implemented, sportsbooks will need to rethink how they advertise their services to the general public.

Making Ontario iGaming Safe

Ontario’s iGaming and sports betting market has been operational for a little over a year, and the new regulation is part of the province’s attempts to regulate and govern the industry. It is hardly surprising that the commission is being so harsh on this matter, given that their advertising and promotion restrictions are more stringent than their US counterparts.

Tom Mungham, CEO of AGCO, has stressed the significance of luring Ontario players away from black market sites and into the regulated market, where they would be protected by stringent measures designed to prevent underage gambling and other forms of irresponsible betting.

“A key objective in this first year has been to move Ontario players from playing on unregulated sites to the regulated market so that they would benefit from high standards of operator and game integrity, fairness and player protections including responsible gambling safeguards.”

AGCO Registrar and CEO, Tom Mungha.

Things are not looking too bad though. Now, 85.3% of respondents who bet money online in Ontario did so via a licensed site, according to a recent poll. Before Ontario’s program debuted last year, 70% of online betting occurred via unregulated sites, so this is definitely a huge improvement.

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