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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has amended regulation to stop licensed operators from using athletes and celebrities in gambling marketing.

Following two updates to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, the use of athletes in iGaming advertising will be prohibited, as will the use of celebrities who are of particular appeal to minors.

The new rules will come into effect from 28 February 2024.

AGCO identified these marketing approaches as having the potential to cause harm to those under legal gaming age in the Canadian province. It has therefore seen fit to reduce that risk.

The AGCO initially held consultations on the issue in April 2023, including contributions from a broad range of stakeholders, including public health organisations and gambling operators.

Following these consultations, the AGCO has determined that prohibiting the use of athletes and restricting celebrity endorsements can help to safeguard children and young people who can be particularly susceptible to such content.

“We’re increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting.”
AGCO CEO Tom Mungham

The amended standards will apply to both active and retired athletes in igaming marketing and advertising, except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling.

Outgoing AGCO CEO Tom Mungham said: “Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to.

“We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario,” he added.

Athletes and celebs are also banned from gambling marketing in other regulated markets such as the UK, with material governed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Earlier this month, the AGCO unveiled the appointment of Dr Karin Schnarr as its new CEO. The Wilfrid Laurier University professor will take over from 18 September 2023.

Ontario’s regulated online gambling market went live on 4 April 2022.