Date: 29.04.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

Last update: 08.05.2024 12:05

Navigating the Waves of Sports Betting Ads: Ontario’s Reach Across Canada

This April marks the two-year anniversary of the regulated online gambling market in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. The burgeoning market has showcased its robust growth potential over the past two years, consistently enhancing its offerings to customers within the province.

Today, Ontario boasts over 70 licensed gambling operators, a significant increase facilitated by the market’s opening, which allowed previously unauthorized operators to secure official licenses and legally advertise their services.

Advertising Nationwide with an Ontario-Only License

However, a recent report highlights a troubling trend—the proliferation of gambling advertisements across Canada, targeting areas without specific regulatory frameworks or where the operators lack the appropriate licensing. As per CBC, these advertisements promote platforms licensed solely in Ontario, creating a problematic scenario. Marie-Noëlle Savoie, chief compliance officer at the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and spokesperson for the Canadian Lottery Coalition, explains the contradiction this poses. An Ontario license does not authorize operators to offer services in other provinces, yet advertisements suggest otherwise.

“We are in a fight with people that are operating illegally in our provinces. We’re obviously not very happy about it,” stated Savoie, emphasizing the ongoing battle against these unauthorized offerings. She also noted that the widespread advertising is partly due to the packages offered by media companies: “If you buy in Ontario, you get Canada.” This allows operators to reach audiences in regions where they don’t hold licenses, misleadingly presenting themselves as legitimate competitors.

Public Discontent and the Call for Advertising Reform

The extent of public frustration with the current state of sports betting advertising was starkly illustrated in a new survey by Maru Public Opinion. A significant 68% of respondents advocated for banning endorsements of gambling companies by celebrities and sports teams. Additionally, 66% supported prohibiting betting advertisements during live sports events, and 59% favored a nationwide ban on all gambling advertisements.

These findings reflect a strong desire among Canadians to rein in the aggressive marketing tactics employed by betting companies, particularly those that blur regulatory boundaries.

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