Advertising of iGaming in Ontario (internet gaming including sports/events betting)
Information for advertisers and consumers
Ontario launched an iGaming market on April 4, 2022. To support this new market, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has established a regulatory framework including a set of standards for operators of internet gaming sites (including sports and events betting) called the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (the Standards).
According to the Standards, a key AGCO priority is responsible gaming, and to that end has included certain risks that the market seeks to avoid, several of which impact advertising and promotions by operators including:
- inappropriate advertising practices that target minors and high-risk individuals;
- advertising that is false and misleadingly deceptive to attract the public; and
- advertising that is deemed to promote excessive play.
The Standards include further details on how to avoid these practices (see Standards 2.03 to 2.07). It is also important to note that the Standards requires that advertising and marketing materials must contain a responsible gambling message (Standard 2.08).
If you are an advertiser and have questions about a specific ad or campaign for your iGaming site, seek advice from legal counsel to help ensure compliance.
Ad Standards Role in Consumer Complaints Related to iGaming Advertising
As with most advertising in Canada, the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (the Code) applies to the content of iGaming advertising. You are welcome to file a complaint with Ad Standards if you believe that a specific iGaming advertisement violates a provision of the Code, such as if you believe that the ad conveys a misleading impression which is prohibited under Clause 1 (Accuracy & Clarity), encourages unsafe behaviour which violates Clause 10 (Safety), or is offensive in nature in contravention of Clause 14 (Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals).
Further, eligibility to iGaming sites in Ontario is prohibited to individuals under 19 years of age (except where the individual is at least 18 years of age and is accessing the gaming site solely for the purpose of purchasing lottery tickets). If you have a concern that an ad for iGaming products may seem to appeal to minors, you may also file a complaint with Ad Standards for a violation of section 13 of the Code (Advertising to Minors).
Read about how consumer complaints are handled.
Please note that iGaming advertising is legal in Ontario subject to compliance with the Standards outlined above. As a result, Ad Standards does not consider complaints related to the activity of iGaming advertising itself (including concerns about frequency and placement). If you are concerned that an iGaming advertisement does not comply with the AGCO’s Standards set out above, please forward your inquiry/complaint to AGCO for assessment and response.