Ontario Implements Restrictions on Sports Betting Advertisements Involving Athletes and Celebrities

In a significant regulatory shift, Ontario has introduced stringent new rules on the advertising of sports betting services, specifically prohibiting the involvement of athletes and celebrities.

Ontario has introduced stringent new rules on the advertising of sports betting services

This measure, effective from February 28, 2024, aims to safeguard vulnerable populations, including minors, from the potentially harmful influences of aggressive marketing in the gambling sector.

Regulatory Changes and Their Impact

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced the updated regulations, marking a pivotal moment in the province’s approach to sports betting advertising. The new standards specifically ban the use of both active and retired sports personalities in any gambling-related advertisements.

This development follows concerns that such advertisements might unduly influence fans and young people, glamorizing betting activities linked to popular sports figures.

The decision aligns Ontario with a broader movement across North America, where there is growing scrutiny of how gambling services are marketed, particularly in contexts likely to engage youth and sports enthusiasts.

These changes are part of Ontario’s ongoing efforts to establish a responsible gambling environment while accommodating the rapid expansion of sports betting facilitated by federal legalization in August 2021.

The revised advertising standards are expected to encourage sports betting operators to engage in more responsible marketing practices, focusing on the integrity and entertainment aspects of sports betting rather than celebrity endorsements.

This approach is seen as a crucial step in balancing the economic benefits of legalized sports betting with the need to minimize social risks associated with gambling.