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Ontarians Want Ban on Sports Betting Ads

Ontarians are already fed up with the boom of sports betting ads in the province, and the playoff game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers only made things worse. Adults in the province are concerned about the potential impact on the youth as sports games are flooded with sports gambling commercials, often endorsed by popular players or celebrities.

In April 2022, Ontario made history as it introduced its open iGaming market for third-party operators which attracted plenty of interest from the industry. The expansion of the local industry led to a significant increase in ads on all kinds of media. Leading to more and more people getting worried that the abundance of commercials could turn out to be problematic.

Children are Overexposed

Karl Subban, who’s a hockey coach and father of three NHL players also disapproves of the ads. He said they are a big problem as gambling can be addictive. He remarked that tons of the marketing was focused on catching the eye of the most vulnerable, the youngest demographic. That is why advocates for the ban of sports betting ads in the market.

Mr. Subban is part of the Ban Ads for Gambling campaign. On its website, it states that wants to ban all advertising on gaming ads. It claims that harms from gambling can include financial troubles, stress to families, youth and children, mental health problems such as addiction and even suicide. These are just some of the listed negative effects that can be developed by Canadians.

The group is alarmed about the inclusion of celebrities and athletes in ads which can be dangerous for children. Mr. Subban said those kinds of ads draw the attention of the young ones, and according to him, it can have a harmful effect on them, as it can affect the realizing of their potential and achieving their dreams.

Sylvia Kairouz, a professor at Concordia University back the theory that gambling ads can be problematic. In her study, she found that such ads have an impact on one’s behaviour. She said they push people to gamble and, in some instances, to gamble even more. She added that the introduction of the iGaming market provided a platform for addicts for even easier access.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario which regulated the online gambling market has already taken some steps towards protecting consumers. Last month, the regulator introduced legislation which if passed would ban pro athletes from participating in gambling endorsements. AGCO said it will hear comments on its proposal until May 8, 2023.

Recapping the First Year of iGaming

At the start of April 2023, Ontario celebrated one calendar year since the introduction of the online gambling model. AGCO’s subsidiary iGaming Ontario said that for the first 12 months, locals placed over CA$35.6 billion in wagers which transformed into CA$1.4 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, active player accounts had an average monthly net spend of around CA$70.

Source: Cheese, Tyler “At nearly 9 minutes of sports betting ads per Toronto Maple Leafs game, a new group wants them bannedCBC News, May 9, 2023