AGCO Bans Athletes and Celebrities from Ontario’s iGaming Ads

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recently announced an update to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, aimed at protecting minors from the influence of online gambling advertising. This amendment, which will come into effect on February 28, 2024, will prohibit the use of athletes and influential celebrities in internet gaming advertisements across Ontario.

The move is a significant step towards safeguarding minors from the potential harms of online gambling and is expected to have a game-changing impact on the industry. The AGCO’s outgoing CEO has championed the cause of youth protection, and this latest move reflects the commission’s commitment to ensuring a safe and responsible gaming environment for all Ontarians.

Key Takeaways

  • AGCO’s new amendment prohibits the use of athletes and influential celebrities in internet gaming advertisements across Ontario.
  • The move aims to safeguard minors from the influence of online gambling advertising.
  • The AGCO’s commitment to youth protection is reflected in this latest update to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming.

AGCO’s Measures to Safeguard Minors from Influential iGaming Ads

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has taken measures to safeguard minors from the influence of iGaming ads. In the inaugural year of Ontario’s regulated iGaming market, AGCO identified advertising tactics that harnessed the power of athletes and celebrities to captivate a younger demographic. As a result, AGCO has updated the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming to prohibit athletes’ use in Internet gaming (iGaming) advertising and marketing in Ontario. The amendment, set to take effect on February 28, 2024, imposes a ban on the use of athletes and influential celebrities in iGaming advertisements across Ontario.

In April of 2023, AGCO initiated comprehensive consultations on its proposal to prohibit the utilization of these advertising methods. The talks drew input from diverse stakeholders, encompassing mental health and public health organizations, responsible gambling experts, gaming operators, marketing conglomerates, and the general public. The consensus from these consultations galvanized AGCO to act, deciding to tighten the reins on celebrity endorsements that might appeal to minors.

In addition to AGCO’s efforts, Canadian Senator Marty Deacon called for legislation to regulate sports betting advertising in June. The aim is to curb the exposure of Canadians to these ads and mitigate potential gambling addictions, particularly among youth.

AGCO’s Outgoing CEO Champions Youth Protection

AGCO’s outgoing Registrar and CEO, Tom Mungham, has emphasized the importance of protecting Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario. The athletes and celebrities heavily influence the children and youth they look up to, so AGCO is increasing measures to protect them. Under the revised standards, registered iGaming operators in Ontario will be prohibited from incorporating active or retired athletes into their advertising and marketing efforts, except when such athletes exclusively advocate for responsible gambling practices.

The new regulations extend their reach to encompass celebrities, role models, social media influencers, entertainers, cartoon characters, and symbols likely to resonate with minors. This amplification of the existing standard signifies a broader commitment to keeping content away from youngsters intended to have a primary appeal to minors. AGCO has also pledged to offer supplementary guidance in the coming weeks to ensure that the regulations are followed and that minors are protected from the harmful effects of online betting.

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