There has been a boom in advertising for online sports betting in Ontario. The sudden increase coincides with the launch of the regulated iGaming market in Ontario last April. However, the surge of online gambling ads on TV appears to be bothering many Canadians. It has gotten to the point that one organization is taking steps to ban these ads altogether.
The group does not expect to stop gambling itself. However, they wish to see the same kinds of controls on advertising for gambling that is in place for tobacco and cannabis. In fact, one member is on the record calling the potential issue a “public health danger.”
Goals of the Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling
The Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling is a group of prominent Canadians who feel advertising for gambling is creating loads of problems in the country. The organization was formed by a committee that includes former Toronto mayor John Sewell and Greater Toronto Hockey League board member Karl Subban, the father of ex-NHL star P. K. Subban.
The group is calling on concerned Canadians to send letters to Pablo Rodriguez, the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, and request that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission start a public hearing to investigate public harm resulting from the proliferation of sports gambling ads on Canadian media, as well as develop policies and regulations to mitigate the damage they cause.
The members of The Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling say the issues that can stem from problem gambling include financial problems, stress to families, youth and children, mental health issues including addiction and even suicide. They say gambling ads, in both content and frequency, are enticing to adolescents and other vulnerable people, especially those struggling with gambling addiction.
Bruce Kidd’s efforts to ban gambling ads in Canada picking up steam
Bruce Kidd is a key figure in The Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling. Kidd is a professor emeritus of Sport & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He is also a known critic of sports betting in Canada.
As a former Canadian Olympian, Kidd also claims that gambling is strangling the beauty of sports. In a recent interview on “Moore in the Morning with John Moore,” on Toronto’s Newstalk 1010AM, Kidd pointed to regulating ads for other products that can become a dangerous, addictive problem like gambling.
“There are restrictions on other legal products with respect to advertising. That is certainly true for tobacco for many of the same reasons we’re putting forward,” said Kidd. “Because of the harm that tobacco causes and because the incentives to unrestricted use of tobacco that advertising creates, particularly among the young.”
Kidd says his group is focusing on the damage that can be created. He is especially concerned that large numbers of people addicted to gambling seeing sports betting ads flood their TV screens. He called it a “public health danger.”
“We’re focusing on the harm, the public health danger with large numbers of people addicted to gambling,” said Kidd. “A high number of young people engage in gambling, it’s as if they are groomed to gambling by the ads and there is a lot of research on that. We can reduce the harm significantly be restricting advertising.”
Kidd says the Canadian parliament did not consider the harm of gambling ads when they legalized single-event sports betting. He also says officials should look at what other countries are doing to regulate sports wagering advertisements.
Research shows Canadians are tired of gambling ads
A recent poll shows Canadians are getting sick and tired of seeing betting ads while watching their favourite teams. The survey was conducted by Ipsos. It shows that 48% of Canadians believe there is too much advertising for sports betting sites in Ontario.
According to the study, 42% of adults say sportsbook ads are not very enjoyable to watch. Furthermore, 63% of Canadians say there should be limits on advertising for online sports betting and Internet casino gambling. Ipsos also did some social listening analysis. The research found negative posts about sports betting advertising on social media had surged by 820% between July 2022 and October 2022.
There may be some momentum behind The Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling. However, there will likely be several hurdles to clear. There is no word on if Minister Pablo Rodriguez plans to address the group’s concerns. The CRTC has yet to comment.