It appears that Ontario may be cracking down on sports betting advertisements involving celebrity and influencer endorsers. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has proposed a change that would restrict athlete and celebrity participation in internet gambling advertising. This is due to the potential risk of children being influenced.
If this proposal successfully changes advertising for Ontario sportsbooks, it could have an overall impact on the North American market.
AGCO Believes Underage Audiences Are At Risk
The thinking behind the proposal is that recognizable celebrities which include pro athletes, influencers, and actors appeal to kids. If these big-name stars are seen on billboards and on TV, children run the risk of being influenced.
“The AGCO has identified advertising and marketing approaches that strongly appeal to persons who are under the legal gaming age through the use of celebrities and/or athletes,” reads the proposal. Concern regarding the potential harmful impact on the most vulnerable population, underage persons, remains high.”
The proposal would prohibit ad campaigns that use celebrities and retired athletes to promote sportsbooks. This would affect several major sportsbooks and their ability to promote their products in the Ontario sports betting market.
Ontario’s proposal is not unheard of in the grand scheme of things. In the United Kingdom, lawmakers banned athletes, reality TV stars, and social media influencers from appearing in gambling ads. The U.K.’s reasoning also stemmed from recognizable faces appealing to children.
With the harsher look on sports betting advertisements and deals happening in multiple markets, this move from Ontario could affect the U.S.
How This Proposal Could Affect US Sportsbook Ads
Should the proposal be grand and an update to the Internet Gambling Advertising Standards commences, U.S. markets could use this as a blueprint to implement similar restrictions. Gambling ads involving celebrities are commonplace in the industry and would be a major blow to local operators if banned.
Kevin Garnett, Jamie Foxx, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Hart, Rob Gronkowski, and many more have multi-year partnerships with sportsbooks. These deals see familiar faces act as brand ambassadors for popular sports betting companies.
Sportsbooks in the U.S. would have to completely change their marketing strategy if this trend spreads across our northern border. It is still too early to determine if Ontario will heed the AGCO’s proposal or if it would affect the U.S. industry. However, it is not farfetched to assume that lawmakers in the states are paying close attention to Ontario to see how things unfold.