There has been a fair amount of gambling advertising on television since Ontario sports betting and online casinos launched last April, and we have enjoyed many of them.
The creative ads have been good — the Wayne Gretzky/Connor McDavid BetMGM ads, the latest theScore Bet ad featuring Jon Lovitz (“Lock it in baby”) and more recently Russell Peters, and that great holiday FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario ad where they’re setting odds on when the “annual family heated debate” will happen.
But not everyone agrees, according to a new poll from global marketing firm Ipsos.
Many Ads For Ontario Sportsbook Apps
Nearly half of Canadians think gambling ads have gotten out of hand. And it’s not just TV ads for Ontario sportsbook apps of course, but it’s banner ads and billboards. The question already being asked is, how much is too much?
Now a federal member of parliament, Brian Masse — the same Brian Masse who helped craft the bill to open the doors to legal single-game betting in Canada — wants to scale back athletes like Gretzky and McDavid from appearing in the ads.
The theory goes that, as with alcohol, gambling could be harmful to children, says Masse, a New Democratic Party member from Windsor West. Plus, there’s the impact on people struggling with gambling addiction — though one of the advantages of having legal, regulated sportsbooks and Ontario online casino apps is that those operators prominently feature messages promoting responsible gambling.
But some believe all the advertising and content about spreads and moneylines are taking too much attention away for the sports themselves.
The Ipsos study, conducted from Nov. 17-22 using a sample of 2,000 Canadians aged 18 and over, said a lot. According to the survey, nearly half of Canadians (48%) say they agree (17% strongly, 31% somewhat) the amount and volume of advertising is excessive and it’s time to scale it back. The poll is accurate within 2.5 percentage points, according to the Ipsos website.
Almost Half of Ontario Adults Gambling Online
Regulated online gambling in the province has had a strong start, with 37 legal entities currently licensed to offer Ontario gambling sites. According to the study, 47% of Ontario adults say they’ve done some form of online gambling across four types of activities in the past year, including sports betting.
But regarding the advertising, the critique is particularly harsh on social media. A social listening analysis conducted by Ipsos found that negative posts about sports betting advertising had increased by 820% between July and October 2022.
When it comes to the quality of advertising, and whether Canadians enjoy them or not, 42% said the ads are not very enjoyable. The harshest criticism comes from ages 18 to 24 — of that age group, 54% said gambling ads are not likeable.
Changes To Casino Attendance Patterns
And online casino gambling is impacting in-person betting, the study revealed. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 40% of Canadians went to casinos at least once a year. In 2022 that dropped to 22%, matched up against the 30% of Canadians who reported playing casino games such as Ontario online slots on a smartphone app or website.
However, casinos are ramping up operations again after nearly three years of pandemic-related closures.
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