Advertising Standards for Ontario Online Casinos Key Focus at Summit

Advertising Standards for Ontario Online Casinos Key Focus at Summit
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

We are just weeks, not months, from getting a decision from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regarding a potential change to the province’s Advertising Standards concerning the use of celebrities in advertising for Ontario online casinos.

That’s according to Tom Mungham, who is the CEO of the AGCO, the provincial regulator.

Mungham was speaking at a panel at the Canadian Gaming Summit held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on the topic of the regulated Ontario market after one year.

The panel also featured Martha Otton, the executive director of iGaming Ontario (the subsidiary of the AGCO that conducts and manages internet gaming in the province); Dave Forestell, boarding chair of iGaming Ontario; and Ontario attorney general Doug Downey.

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AGCO Still Getting Ontario iGaming Applications

There are 55 registered Ontario casino apps operators today, 47 that are live. There are 28 other applications in the queue at the AGCO, Mungham said. 

“The sector is poised for further and greater growth,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do. We didn’t get everything right out of the gate.”

One of the current challenges brought to the AGCO’s attention revolves around players trying to void their losing bets by self-excluding while the event was in progress. The standard was amended to address that issue quickly, Mungham added.

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Ontario Dealt With Sports Integrity Issue

The sports integrity issue that Ontario sportsbooks faced in December was another challenge – that was when UFC betting was paused temporarily after concerns were expressed about suspicious patterns.

First in Ontario, then Alberta, operators were told to stop offering and accepting wagering on the UFC. After an investigation, and betting policy changes implemented by the UFC, betting on the mixed martial arts giant was reinstated in those markets. There were also a few advertising infractions over the past 14 months related to inducements.

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AGCO Proposing Change to Ad Standards

The issue of changes to advertising standards, revolving around celebrity endorsements, is looming. The AGCO is proposing a change to internet gambling advertising standards. Those changes would prohibit the use of athletes or other celebrities in internet gambling advertising and marketing for online casinos in Toronto and around the province. The objective, AGCO says, is to minimize potential harm to youth and those who are vulnerable. 

Industry stakeholders were invited to register for the AGCO’s engagement portal to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes. 

“There has been no shortage of attention and opinion on this issue across Canada, and globally,” said Mungham, adding the AGCO received 38 responses to that consultation – from iGaming and land-based operators, the charitable gaming sector, and associations in the health sector such as the Canadian Mental Health Association. They also received an additional 10 responses from community groups and municipalities.

“We’ll be speaking with you shortly about that,” he added.

Keep checking OntarioBets for the best Ontario sports betting apps as well as continuing news coverage.

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Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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