AGCO proposes restrictions for athlete and celebrity appearances in internet gambling ads

April 14, 2023
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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and its stakeholders

Ontario recently reached the first anniversary of its legal, regulated iGaming market, but after only a year in operation, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is proposing a change Advertising Standards, with the aim to prevent harm to young people by limiting celebrity and athlete participation in iGaming ads.

The AGCO is mandated to assess risks, while the Registrar must update the Registrar’s Standards to mitigate them. The organization has marked concerns for the population under the legal gambling age and has recognized that the use of athletes and celebrities as a marketing tactic may appeal more to that demographic.

An ACGO release states, “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." 

The amended standard will enforce iGaming operators and suppliers to end any advertising that uses either current or retired athletes, as well as prohibit cartoon figures, celebrities, social media influencers, or entertainers who could be “reasonably expected to appeal to minors” from appearing in ad campaigns.

iGaming advertising will still be permitted, as long as standards are met. This standard will take effect three months after its final publication on the AGCO website, to give gaming operators and suppliers time to comply.

From the April 2022 introduction of Ontario’s new, legal iGaming market, the AGCO has aimed to create a safe and well-regulated online environment and says it will continue to update regulations as necessary in line with the market’s progression.  

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