Flutter Entertainment (parent company of FanDuel and PokerStars) has announced it is funding a two-year independent research study by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) on marketing and advertising in the online gambling industry.
One of the criticisms of the Ontario sports betting market after its launch in the province in April was the avalanche of advertising across multiple media channels. Companies operating in the legal market in Ontario are prioritizing responsible gaming so Flutter’s announcement that it is taking a lead here is not a surprise.
Key objectives of the research include exploring the current landscape of marketing and advertising on a global scale for policy recommendations that cover the key operating environment moving forward, assess best-practice potential for responsible marketing and advertising practices based on evidence found via the research, and work in insights from operators and regulators on how to improve quality.
RGC CEO Shelley White said in a statement: “Through this research, we not only have the ability to affect necessary changes to our marketing and advertising standards here in Ontario, but also the ability to make great impacts to the harm minimization efforts of jurisdictions all around the world. This comprehensive study truly highlights the culture shift that the industry is currently undergoing, and by leveraging our research partners, we can make greater impacts in protecting players and communities.”
OntarioBets talked with FanDuel Group’s general manager of Canada Dale Hooper for his thoughts on the study and the Ontario online casino and sports betting markets.
'This Is A Massive Market'
OntarioBets: What are you seeing in terms of the pace of market growth in Ontario so far?
Dale Hooper: This is a massive market that we’re still only beginning to see the shape of. There has been a tremendous amount of progress, but we know the industry is still in growth mode as new partnerships are developed, new operators continue to enter the market, and we continue to provide new experiences to sports fans. Overall, the industry is evolving rapidly and we are excited to see how things will develop in the future.
OntarioBets: Why the need for this study, in your view?
Hooper: This is a brand-new industry in Ontario, and it’s essential that we make sure players are as safe as possible. This study allows current and prospective markets to understand the impact of marketing and advertising on consumers and come up with ways for better policies and practices to ensure safety.
While the results and implications of the RGC’s study are not known yet, I believe that the results can be used to create a safer future for the industry and assist with solutions and ways to make positive changes that are in the best interest of sports fans and iGaming players.
FanDuel Launched With Responsible Gaming Ads
OntarioBets: There's been a lot of criticism about the extent of advertising in Ontario so far after the April 4 launch. Has there been too much in your view? What's the risk to the player?
Hooper: Advertising can be a great tool for educating folks about iGaming and Responsible Gambling practices and tools. FanDuel actually launched in Ontario exclusively with Responsible Gaming ads — this was a monumental and unprecedented decision that illustrates our ongoing commitment to educating and protecting consumers.
OntarioBets: What about the perspective of media companies, who have been welcoming sports book ad spends in Ontario as a much-needed influx of revenue?
Hooper: In our media partnerships, the goal of all parties is to make sure that our outputs are in the best interest of consumers — everything we put out should enhance the viewer’s experience. We work closely with our partners at TSN to create organic, entertaining, and informative integrations that serve our audiences first and foremost.
What About Self-Policing?
OntarioBets: Shouldn't the self-policing of being exposed to too much advertising be left up to the individual?
Hooper: Sports fans are going to watch television, and their content should be fun and informative. Our partnership with TSN ensures that viewers have the ultimate experience based on delivering fun, innovative, and safe sports wagering to fans.
OntarioBets: I know FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario is involved in responsible gaming initiatives. How does this study fit in with those?
Hooper: As an industry leader it’s necessary for us to continually make progress, especially when it comes to responsible gaming as it is the foundation of everything that we do. Our objective to continue making improvements to keep consumers safe and the insights from the study will help us in that regard.