Senator Marty Deacon proposes further regulation on Canada’s sports betting ads

June 21, 2023
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The Ontario senator focuses on the potential for problem gambling, the ads' effects on minors and other countries' recent regulation efforts.

Senator Marty Deacon of Ontario has introduced new legislation through a Senate Public Bill to further regulate sports betting ads in Canada. She claims Canadians see such advertising daily, and that her efforts will protect young and vulnerable people from potential gambling addictions.

Proposed legislation would require the Government to work with Canadian provinces and other stakeholders on: restricting the use of non-broadcast ads or limiting their allowed locations; conducting research on prevention and diagnosis of minors involved in gambling activities; setting national standards and providing support for those affected by problem gambling; and ensuring the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) review and assess the effectiveness of its policies.

The bill also calls for the limiting or banning participation of celebrity athletes in Canadian sports betting advertisements, which was also proposed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in April this year.

Deacon said, “The reality is you cannot sit down in this country to enjoy a sport without being exposed to a barrage of advertising. These ads, though, are much more than just annoying, and they can lead to addictions and other harms, through gambling problems.”

The senator acknowledges that a complete ban would not be possible, but that she would like to, “find a way to advertise to Canadians without creating addicts.” Deacon also referenced recently introduced regulations on sports wagering advertising practices in the UK, Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Deacon added, “I think it'd be foolish to wait and see if these same problems arise in Canada and then react to them only when so many lives have been ruined by problem gambling as a result.”

David Hodgkins, Director of Clinical Psychology at University of Calgary, said, “sports betting should be viewed as a potentially harmful activity similar to other potentially addictive behaviors/substances.”

Both Deacon and Hodgkins were in support of the legalization of single-game sports betting in Canada in 2021.

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