Operators in the Ontario online gambling space could soon be faced with a ban on featuring celebrities in their advertising campaigns. The ban has yet to be finalized. However, once this happens, it will be introduced quickly.
Ontario has only had a regulated online gaming market since April 2022, so why is this ban being proposed now? The starting point for its introduction is the protection of children.
Why is the ban being discussed?
The ban is being proposed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO). The organization stated that its goal is to “minimize potential harm to youth and children.” The aim of the ban to protect these children from exposure to gambling. Research suggests that young people tend to be attracted to marketing campaigns by the presence of sports stars and other celebrities. So, it follows that removing these people from advertising reduces the risk to youngsters.
The recommendation for the ban is part of AGCO’s commitment to its role in creating a safe and well-regulated online casino gaming landscape from Ontario licensed online casinos.. The organization intends to update the regulatory framework as the legal online gambling market in Ontario evolves. The potential ban on celebrities in gambling advertising is part of its work.
The Crown agency says that it has recognized how much sports stars and other celebrities appeal to people who are under the legal age for gambling. So, it needs to protect these young people from the risk. The changes being proposed would mean that operators and suppliers in the online gambling space are obliged to desist from advertising using any current or retired sports stars.
Ban would not just apply to sports stars
The proposed ban on using celebrities in online gambling advertising in Ontario does not only apply to sports stars. It’s true that big names like Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, and Wayne Gretzky are a major feature of current and recent advertising campaigns and are, therefore a focus of AGCO’s intentions. However, the ban would also apply to a wider group of celebrities.
These celebrities come from a range of fields, including social media influencers, TV and film stars, and celebrities from the music industry. Even cartoon characters will feature in the ban. The wide interpretation of the word “celebrities” is understandable given the influence that these people and characters have on the children the ban aims to protect.
Banning the participation of any celebrity in advertising for online gambling reduces the allure of gambling for young people whose brains have yet to fully form and who, therefore, may not make the best decisions for their own well-being.
Changes will be implemented three months after approval
There is no firm date for the ban to be implemented yet as it has not been fully approved. Feedback from stakeholders is currently being examined. Once this examination is complete, a decision on the implementation of the ban will be made. If the ban is approved, as seems likely, it will be introduced three months from the date of approval. This time period will give operators time to ensure they comply with the restrictions.