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2024 - Gaming Advertising Complaints

Ad Standards accepts complaints from members of the public about gambling advertisements, and the Ad Standards Council reviews these complaints against the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Code). Complaints relating to gambling advertisements often fall under one or more of the following provisions of the Code

  • the ad conveys a misleading impression, which is prohibited under Clause 1 (Accuracy & Clarity),
  • the product is prohibited from sale to minors, and the ad in question appeals particularly to persons under the legal age, which violates Clause 13 (Advertising to Minors),
  • the ad encourages unsafe behaviour, which violates Clause 10 (Safety), or
  • the ad is offensive in nature, in contravention of Clause 14 (Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals).

The following is an overview of the complaints that Ad Standards received as they relate to gambling advertising from April 29, 2023 to April 24, 2024. Ad Standards began tracking this information from the time that iGaming launched in Ontario in April 2022. Year-over-year comparison numbers are included below.

Ad Standards received 113 complaints related to gambling advertisements, representing almost ten percent of the total number of complaints (1,361) that were received between April 29, 2023 and April 24, 2024. Of those complaints, 105 complaints (93%) related to ads on television, while the balance were for ads on streaming services, radio, online, or out-of-home. By province, the majority of complaints were from Ontario residents (37%), whereas 27% were from British Columbia and 14% were from Alberta. The remaining 22% of complaints came from residents of other provinces or territories.

These complaints are in the process of being reviewed in accordance with Ad Standards’ Consumer Complaints Procedure.

Types of Complaints

The following is an overview of the concerns raised within the complaints as compiled by our Director of Standards (National). Interestingly, unlike last year, where the majority of complaints were related to the activity in the ad, most of the complaints filed in the period of this report dealt directly with the content of advertising as potential Code violations.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of the complaints related to the content of a specific ad, and therefore, were accepted for review under the provisions of the Code by the Ad Standards Council. The complaints were divisible by Clause, as follows:

  • Sixty-nine percent (69%) related to three specific ads alleged to offend the standards of public decency under Clause 14(d), or stereotyping towards a group of people.
  • Eleven percent (11%) alleged that the content of three ads featuring celebrities/athletes exhibited obvious indifference to unlawful behaviour under Clause 14(b) because they were broadcast after the revised rules that restrict the use of athletes/celebrities in gambling advertising, which were implemented in February 2024.
  • Eight percent (8%) were concerned with the content of four ads alleged to encourage unsafe practices under Clause 10, Safety.
  • Seven percent (7%) were concerned by the potential misleading content of four ads, alleged to either include a misleading statement or omit relevant information under Clause 1(a) and 1(b).
  • Five percent (5%) were concerned with the content of three ads alleged to appeal to minors under Clause 13.

Forty-six percent (46%) of the complaints related to concerns about the activity, rather than the content of a specific ad. The concerns raised in those complaints were about:

  • The high frequency and volume of gambling ads.
  • The scheduling during mainly sports events, seen by children and minors.
  • The endorsement by athletes or celebrities.
  • The placement of in-program sponsored content by sportscasters.
  • The geo-targeting of gambling ads outside of the province of Ontario even if the ads disclosed that the product/service advertised is only available in Ontario.

Almost all of the complaints in this category called for heavier restrictions due to the well-known risk of addiction associated with gambling.

Comparison of Gaming Advertising Complaints with Previous Year

Total of complaints

% of all complaints

From ON

From AB

From BC


About activity

About specific ad content

April 2022 - April 2023









May 2023 - April 2024









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