Ad Restrictions For Ontario Sportsbooks, iGaming Kick In Soon

Ad Restrictions For Ontario Sportsbooks, iGaming Kick In Soon
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

It appears that Ontario gambling sites operators have their hands on the new set of regulations and rules surrounding advertising and problem gambling from the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission.

The AGCO has officially unveiled Ontario’s newest iGaming regulations and emailed operators. Most of the statues pertain to Standard 2.03, which concerns preventing underaged people and those with problem gambling backgrounds from using the province’s online casinos. The AGCO also is restricting the use of professional athletes in advertising going forward unless they’re vouching for the various responsible gambling causes, according to an AGCO press release.

The regulations take hold on Feb. 28.

The standard in question reads: “Advertising, marketing materials and communications shall not target high-risk, underage or self-excluded persons to participate in lottery schemes, shall not include underage individuals, and shall not knowingly be communicated or sent to high-risk players. (Also applicable to Gaming-Related Suppliers).” The bolstered requirements under the province’s new rules include language about banning influencers on social media who appeal to underaged residents, as well as preventing professional athletes from taking part in ads that don’t have to do with responsible gaming.

“Use or contain cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities, or entertainers who would likely be expected to appeal to minors,” the new regulations read. “Use active or retired athletes, who have an agreement or arrangement made directly or indirectly between an athlete and an operator or gaming-related supplier, in advertising and marketing except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices.”

Additionally, Ontario casino apps operators must take additional steps to ensure that any ads in the province do not appeal to those at risk of problem gambling activities, with rule 8 of standard 2.03 reading: “Measures shall be in place to limit marketing communications to all known high-risk players.”

25 Years on a market and most trustful brand with high odds and high limits
Must be 19+ to participate. T&Cs apply. Play Responsibly.

What Changed With Ontario iGaming Rules?

The biggest shift in the AGCO’s latest batch of updates is the precise language surrounding the use of social media influencers “who could likely be expected to appeal to minors,” according to the release, focusing on how likely a given ad subject is to appeal to those under the legal age (19) to take part in gaming activities in Ontario. Those iGaming options include Ontario online slots, table games and more.

“While the AGCO recognizes the fluid nature of individuals’ appeal to different groups, given that public interest and appeal is dynamic, we encourage Registrants to use their judgement to determine whether the individual likely appeals to minors,” the AGCO statement reads. “The AGCO will be looking for Registrants to conduct a credible assessment, using criteria they have established for likely appeal, supported by records and control activities.”

There was no set follower count outlined as to who qualifies as a “social media influencer” in the AGCO’s latest batch of standards. But the commission’s release states that iGaming and Ontario sports betting operators should be prudent in choosing their advertising subjects.

“While the AGCO is aware that there is interest in a prescriptive definition, such as a minimum number of followers that a person might have, the Registrant’s judgement or assessment needs to focus on an individual’s appeal to minors,” the AGCO release reads. “The AGCO is aware that the iGaming environment is constantly evolving, as are operator advertising and marketing strategies. We encourage Registrants to take a cautious approach and to assess the risks of using certain individuals.”

4,000+ Games, Dedicated Support, Fast & Secure Payments
Must be 19+ to participate. Play Responsibly. T&Cs apply.

AGCO Outlines Use of Pro Athletes In Ads

Furthermore, the use of professional athletes from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL, MLS, Premier League or Olympics to promote iGaming or Ontario sports betting apps operators was banned by the AGCO under requirement 4 of the new standards, save for promoting responsible gambling practices.

“For greater clarity, despite the restriction on the use of role models, social media influencers, celebrities, or entertainers who would likely be expected to appeal to minors under requirement 3, the use of athletes who may also be considered to fit within one of these categories is permitted for ‘the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices’ as set out in requirement 4,” according to the AGCO release.

The acts that are outlawed under requirement 4 include athletes portraying gambling “as appealing or fun,” or that could be conceived as a tutorial on how to gamble, with any ads featuring professional athletes having to be centered around responsible gaming only.

Lastly, requirement 8 states that Ontario iGaming and sports betting operators, including new Ontario online casinos, must limit marketing to all “high-risk players.” Operators in the legal Ontario market must have a responsible gaming plan in place with a “specific course of action” going forward.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a writer at He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: