AGCO Proposes Restrictions for Athlete and Celebrity Appearances in Internet Gambling Ads

By | April 17, 2023


The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is proposing changes to its internet gambling advertising standards, restricting the participation of athletes and celebrities advertising online casinos and sports betting.

With the Canadian market passing its first year of legalized online gambling, the AGCO is re-evaluating its advertising standards with the goal of “further minimising potential harm to youth and children”.

The ACGO has cited the use of athletes and celebrities in advertising and marketing as strongly appealing to those under the legal gaming age as a cause for the proposed decision.

As concerns of potential harm to the most vulnerable remain high, the regulator is proposing “to prohibit the use of athletes as well as celebrities that can reasonably be expected to appeal to children and youth from internet gambling advertising and marketing in Ontario”.

Before introducing any changes to the standards, the AGCO is engaging with stakeholders to collect perspectives on the matter, which can be submitted until May 8.

AGCO noted that the proposed amended standard will:

  • Create an obligation for operators and suppliers to cease any advertising and marketing activities that use athletes, whether active or retired, in gaming marketing and advertising.
  • Prohibit the use of cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities or entertainers who are reasonably expected to appeal to minors. This proposed amendment differs from the current standard, which is applicable to persons that “primarily appeal” to minors. Advertising remains a permitted activity, provided other Standards are met.

Should the proposed standards be enforced, operators will have three months from the standard’s publication date on the AGCO’s website in order to comply with the new rules.

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