AGCO to ban use of pro-athletes, some celebrities in gambling ads

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AGCO to ban use of pro-athletes, some celebrities in gambling ads

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is set to ban the use of professional athletes and some celebrities in online gambling advertisements and marketing in February 2024.

All professional athletes, both active and retired, will be barred from participating in any form of online gambling marketing and standards have been strengthened to restrict the use of celebrities that appeal to minors.

The amended standards also include the restriction of the use of all role models, social media influencers, entertainers, cartoon figures and symbols that “would likely be expected to appeal to minors.”

According to the AGCO this change “broadens and strengthens” previous standards that prohibited the use of all marketing content with a “primary appeal to minors.”

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The Commission says the decision is being made to protect those who fall below the legal gambling age from harm that may come from having individuals they look up to appearing in gambling advertisements.

The AGCO says consultations were conducted on the proposal of a ban that included mental and public health organizations, responsible gaming experts, gaming operators, broadcast and marketing groups and the public, which suggested the move would best protect youth.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and current NHL stars Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are among the athletes who have appeared in ads for gambling sites.

These new rules are set to take effect on Feb. 28, 2024.

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