Casino News

Ontario Bishops Seek Suspension of Betting Ads

Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop Chris Harper have joined forces to oppose gambling advertisements. The bishops believe that similar to tobacco, betting should not be promoted as it can have a deep effect on people’s well-being.

In April 2022, Ontario became the first Canadian jurisdiction to launch an open iGaming sector for private operators. In its first year, regulated online gambling saw 1.6 million active player accounts and over CA$35.6 billion in handle. However, the success of the market attracted a plethora of operators, causing a bombardment of gambling ads in the province.

Calling for Change in Gaming Advertising

In a statement, the bishops noted that previously the local government realized that tobacco should not be advertised. That is why they urge the province to recognize that the well-being of people can be largely affected by gambling addiction, which is brought into the living rooms and laptops, phones, and tables, through the current iGaming model.

The bishops advise Anglicans to join the Campaign to Ban Ads on Gambling, which calls for outright prohibiting of betting promotions and ads. They urged Anglicans in the province to get familiar with the campaign’s “White Paper on the Impact of Advertising for Gambling,” to contact their members of the provincial parliament calling for the disestablishment of iGaming.

Previously, Statistics Canada, reported that 1.6% of adults gambling in Canada are at moderate to high risk of gambling disorders, which is around 25,600 individuals in Ontario. The white paper also states that underage gaming is also common, as it can often start with children as young as nine years old, and the prevalence of gambling ads, further deteriorates the situation.

Archbishop Anne Germond, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario, said the white paper was brought to the attention of the Ontario House of Bishops and Nicholls was contacted by former Toronto mayor John Sewell who was one of the co-authors. Ms. Germond explained the province’s House of bishops firmly agreed to support the initiative against gambling ads.

Ms. Germond noted that one of the concerns about iGaming ads is its impact on young people. Especially the vulnerable ones, those who may already experience a form of addictive tendencies. She added the constant flow of advertisements that encourage gambling comes in every form of social media and online and has a toxic effect on individuals.

Ontario’s Response

iGaming Ontario, an agency established to oversee legal internet gambling, said it was founded to make the offering safer than before. It remarked that regulated gaming has protections to ensure players’ healthy playing habits. iGO has also recently issued a request for proposals for a centralized self-exclusion solution for a simplified process and better protect consumers.

Source: Puddister, Matthew “Ontario bishops call for a ban on gambling adsAnglican Journal, January 3, 2024