Ontario Decides on Banning Athletes and Celebrities from iGaming Ads
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Ontario Decides on Banning Athletes and Celebrities from iGaming Ads

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On the 13th of April 2023, the Alcohol and Gambling Commission announced its plans to ban the appearance of celebrities and known athletes from advertisements related to gambling online.

The active participation of celebrities, not only in igaming campaigns but even within the industry itself becomes progressively more common. International artists, influencers, athletes and entertainers have been leaving their footprint in this field too.

Their role within the industry is diverse and of course very important. It is a well-known fact that connecting a celebrity to a product or service makes it more attractive to audiences, therefore making it sell more.

A prime example of this would be the Drake x Stake alliance. Drake is an official ambassador at Stake Casino, which we believe is a primary reason why this casino has exploded within the Canadian market.

We also can't help but mention Usian Bolt's recent alliance with Gamdom a unique online gambling platform.

Even before bringing this athlete to the team, Gamdom established strong connections with several influencers and streamers who attract players by playing at this casino and offering special promotions for their audiences to use on the platform.

We can also see the influence of celebrities who team up with casinos for special sponsorships and promotions, such as at LeoVegas, which offers a couple of sports bonuses in collaboration with renowned sports teams like Inter Milan and Manchester City.

Simultaneously, various countries with significant markets for online gambling have been taking steps towards decreasing the visibility of celebrities in adverts for igaming and generally as the faces of various services and products of the industry.

The discussion also comes up when these are directly present in online casino games themselves, such as the series of online slots by Play'n Go featuring famous bands like Mötley Crüe.

The ban focuses on celebrities and superstar athletes, however also affects the presence of the following:

  • cartoon characters

  • universally known symbols

  • role models, internet influencers and entertainers

But why is this ban taking effect?

The main concern is how ads containing celebrities and famous athletes could affect and reel in underage audiences into the online gambling world.

This is deemed to be the major risk brought about by the diffusion of these campaigns.

The Alcohol and Gambling Commission (from hereon to be referred to as the ACGO) decided to move forward with this ban, primarily to preserve and protect internet users who are still minors from the dangers of gambling addiction.

For children, watching celebrities they look up to in the context of gambling could be an easy influence in exploring this world, unfortunately without understanding its risks.

While huge steps are being taken in Ontario towards the regulation and instalment of the igaming industry, relevant entities are putting a lot of focus on safe, legal gambling which is also responsible.

The ACGO is also not the first igaming governing entity which has implemented a ban on the appearance of celebrities in gambling ads. A similar practice is being put in place in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands too as of 2022.

According to the ACGO, the current advertising trends for the industry prove to greatly appeal to younger audiences, which not only puts them at risk of falling into gambling addiction but also of committing illegal acts by playing online casino games as minors.

We remind you that in Canada, the legal age for participation in Bingo and lotteries is 18 and 19 to be able to join an online casino.

How will this ban affect online casino companies in Ontario?

Receiving this news made us question how casinos like Stake will go about this seeing as the face of its brand is known worldwide and is one of the most prolific artists of our time.

This legal reform is taking place simultaneously with the one in the U.S., concerning the same topic where online gambling platforms and sportsbooks have taken on board VIPs such as Kevin Hart and Jamie Foxx for public partnerships.

Needless to say, we are very much influencing each other in the thought process and implementation of new laws.

So far, the AGCO has claimed that online casino operators shall discontinue the diffusion of pre-existing ads containing celebrities or products which were designed to appeal to younger audiences. Of course, these companies shall also not include these in upcoming ads.

Before the mandatory update of the Internet Gambling Advertising Standards, the AGCO is open to receiving comments, requests or queries from online casino companies legally operating in the state regarding the matter till the 8th of May.

After that, the organisation will take three months to finalise these new laws. We can expect them to be released in August 2023.

About the authorClaude Gillet
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Since 2019, Claude has been editor-in-chief. His role is the most comprehensive, as he is responsible for publishing, editing and proofreading. All articles published on the site have been checked by him.
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