Canadian Sports Betting Ad

  • Ontario’s gaming commission banned athletes and other impressionable figures from appearing in betting advertisements.
  • Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews are some notable former and current hockey stars with gambling partnerships.
  • The updated Standards for Internet Gaming go into effect on February 28, 2024.

TORONTO – The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) banned athletes and other celebrities from appearing in betting advertisements and gambling marketing in Ontario.

Some notable athletes that won’t be seen in legal sports betting advertising anymore are former and current hockey stars Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews. Matthews, the star center for the Toronto Maple Leafs, became the first active NHL player to sign a contract with a betting operator after partnering with Bet99 back in February 2022.

Just two years later in February of 2024, Matthews and other athletes won’t be advertising Canada sports betting during hockey games anymore. However, the list of restricted figures includes more than just the hockey stars.

  • Social Media Influencers
  • Cartoon Characters
  • Entertainers
  • Role Models
  • Symbols

Although symbols are vaguer than the other restrictions, the AGCO restricts any symbols that would appeal to minors. Each of the banned figures is an effort to protect impressionable children from betting.

Why Crack Down Now?

Although a ban on athletes and celebrities from betting advertisements should’ve been implemented long ago, what made the AGCO finally make the decision? Tuesday’s statement cited “significant criticism” from parents, gambling experts, and youth protection advocates for the overwhelming amount of betting advertising, especially during live NHL games.

There was over eight minutes worth of advertising for legal online sportsbooks during one of the NHL playoff games between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers.

Tom Mungham, CEO and registrar of the AGCO, said in a statement “Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to.” Mungham added that “We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”

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