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Sports Betting Ads Surge Stirs the Pot across Canada

Sports betting is here to stay for many individuals interested in placing wagers on live and upcoming events. The NHL playoffs commenced recently and individuals in Canada have the unique chance to place bets for the very first time in a legal manner. Experts such as Dr. Michael Naraine, a professor in the department of sports and management at Brock University, already see the benefits of this new addition to the local gaming market.

It could be recalled that the summer of 2021 witnessed the Senate’s official approval of Bill C-218, allowing single-game sports betting to become legalized in Canada. This is the first season that sees Canadian betting fans place legal sports bets on the playoffs and this also comes with increased gambling ads that may cause more controversy.

Problem Gambling Concerns

Dr. Naraine recently pointed out that sportsbooks that have made their first steps in the local market aim to solidify their position through various promotions and extensive portfolios. This way, they could attract a larger crowd of sports betting enthusiasts and keep them around for longer. He pointed out that the larger players on the Canadian sports betting field would most likely draw the largest market shares down the road.

What is also surprising is the amount these sportsbooks are willing to pay out of their pocket to attract a single new sports betting enthusiast – about CA$750 per individual in both traditional and non-traditional advertising moves. Ads usually include famous athletes in a way to attract attention and even more engagement. In such a dynamic sports betting market, problem gambling is a major concern.

Dr. David Hodgins, Director of the University of Calgary’s Addictive Behaviors Lab, recently expressed concerns regarding the target audience many sports betting ads have. Normalizing wagering on sports events could pose a threat to young and impressionable minds such as the younger generation of Canadians. They end up thinking that betting is a normal activity everyone engages in.

Illegal Ads

Concerns have been rising across the Canadian provinces, as advertising is at an all-time high now that the activity is legal. Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis recently made it clear that sports betting ads are illegal within the province. Steve Lautischer, vice-president of gaming with the commission, pointed out that the only legal sports wagers on a provincial level are the ones at, the official platform, or Western Canada Lottery Sport Select brand’s offerings.

It could be recalled that the province of Alberta decided that all wagers would be processed by the online gaming platform that is already beloved by locals. In this sense, ads by other providers are considered illegal. In the meantime, the sports betting market of Ontario is booming with new brands making their way in and solidifying their position.

Most recently, FanDuel, one of the first operators to go live in Ontario’s competitive online gaming market, shared some of its marketing plans for the province. In a recent statement, the leading sportsbook indicated that it intends to base all of its marketing in the province around responsible gambling. This is an entirely new approach to advertising that is quite rare among gambling companies.

Source: King, Michael. “Sports betting front and centre during NHL playoffs“,, May 26, 2022