At the one-year anniversary of Ontario’s regulated internet gaming (igaming) market, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is proposing a change to internet gambling Advertising Standards, with the goal of further minimizing potential harm to youth and children.
As part of its mandate, the AGCO monitors and identifies emerging risks and, where necessary, the Registrar updates the Registrar’s Standards to mitigate them. The AGCO has identified advertising and marketing approaches that strongly appeal to persons who are under the legal gaming age through the use of celebrities and/or athletes. Concern regarding the potential harmful impact on the most vulnerable population, underage persons, remains high.
The AGCO is therefore 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.
As we do before introducing any changes to our standards, we are engaging with a broad range of stakeholders to hear their perspectives and are accepting comments until
May 8, 2023 [extended until May 15, 2023]. For more information on this engagement opportunity, please register for the AGCO’s engagement portal.
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; and,
- 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.
In order to provide affected operators and suppliers with sufficient time to comply with the proposed new and amended standard, the AGCO is proposing to have it take effect three months following the publication of the final standard on the AGCO website.
Since the introduction in April 2022 of a new internet gaming market in Ontario, a key objective has been to create a safe, competitive, and well-regulated igaming environment for the people of Ontario. From the outset, the AGCO has indicated that it would assess and update the regulatory framework as the market evolves.