The Ever-evolving Landscape of Gambling Advertising in Ontario: Celebrity Advertisement Now Banned

In recent years, regulatory bodies worldwide have been reevaluating their stance on gambling advertisements, particularly concerning the involvement of celebrities and athletes.
Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) made headlines with its decision to implement stricter standards, banning such endorsements in online sports betting ads.
This move, effective from February 28, 2024, marks a significant step in safeguarding vulnerable populations, particularly minors, from the potential harms of gambling promotion.

Ontario’s Lead in Responsible Gambling Advocacy

The AGCO’s decision reflects a growing recognition of the risks associated with gambling, especially for underage individuals. By prohibiting the use of athletes and celebrities in igaming advertising, Ontario sets a precedent for prioritizing the protection of young audiences over the allure of celebrity endorsements.
This proactive stance underscores the province’s commitment to responsible gambling practices and follows extensive consultations to address concerns over advertising content targeting minors.

A Global Trend Towards Regulation

Ontario is not alone in its efforts to regulate gambling advertising. Countries like Brazil, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Australia and Sweden have all taken steps to restrict advertisement possibilities.
These measures vary in scope but share a common goal of reducing exposure to potentially harmful gambling promotions, especially among susceptible populations.

Challenges for the Industry

The restrictions imposed by regulatory bodies pose challenges for sports betting operators reliant on celebrity endorsements to attract customers.
Partnerships with high-profile figures like Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid are no longer viable for marketing purposes in Ontario, forcing operators to rethink their advertising strategies.
While this transition period allows for adaptation, the long-term impact on the industry’s promotional tactics remains uncertain

Balancing Revenue and Responsibility

The debate over gambling advertising restrictions often revolves around balancing potential revenue losses with social responsibility. While gambling advertising generates significant economic benefits, the need to minimize harm cannot be overlooked.
Jurisdictions must weigh the financial implications for the gambling and sports industries against the societal impact of gambling-related harm.

Innovative Responses to Regulation

With traditional advertising avenues restricted, gambling operators must innovate their marketing strategies to comply with regulations while engaging their target audiences responsibly.
This may involve a shift towards content marketing, community engagement, and personalized gambling experiences that prioritize responsible gambling principles.

Prioritizing Public Health

Stricter advertising regulations are rooted in a broader concern for public health and the prevention of gambling harm. By limiting exposure to gambling advertisements featuring celebrities and athletes, regulators aim to reduce the normalization of gambling and its appeal to minors. This aligns with the growing emphasis on responsible gambling initiatives and underscores the need for ongoing research and dialogue.

Towards Global Harmonization

The diverse approaches to gambling advertising regulations across jurisdictions highlight the need for greater harmonization or dialogue on best practices.
Sharing insights and strategies could foster more effective global standards for responsible gambling advertising, ultimately benefiting both the industry and society at large.

Challenges Ahead

Enforcement and compliance pose significant challenges for industry stakeholders and regulators alike.
The digital nature of online platforms makes jurisdiction-specific enforcement difficult, while the impact of advertising restrictions on gambling harm reduction requires ongoing monitoring and research.


Ontario’s decision to restrict the use of celebrities and athletes in online gambling advertisements reflects a broader trend toward responsible gambling advocacy worldwide.
As the industry navigates these changes, the emphasis on public welfare and responsible gambling becomes increasingly pronounced.
Through innovation, cooperation, and a commitment to responsible gambling principles, stakeholders can navigate these changes in a way that benefits both the industry and society as a whole.