Ontario Bans Celebrities, Athletes From Appearing in Commercials for Sportsbooks

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Mobile sports betting has been legal and regulated in Ontario for well over a year now, but there's been much talk about cracking down on the influx of advertisements. 


During a 2023 playoff series game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers, nearly eight and a half minutes of advertisements were dedicated to online sport gambling.

That time has come apparently....well almost.

Ontario will now be banning online gambling commercials featuring athletes and celebrities.  You'll likely still be seeing them during NFL games and a portion of this upcoming NHL and NBA season.  That's because the new rules, proposed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), won't go into effect at the end of February 2024.

Unless betting sites already have athletes and celebrities signed on, it's doubtful they'll be kicking off new campaigns with the end in sight.

The ACGO argues that a ban on the use of athletes and celebrity endorsements would “help safeguard children and youth who can be particularly susceptible to such advertising content.”

"Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to," CEO and Registrar of the AGCO Tom Mungham said in a statement.

"We're therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario's youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario."

Role models, social media influencers and cartoon characters will be prohibited from promoting online gambling sites as well.

Celebrities and athletes currently appearing in commercials for online sports betting sites in Ontario include Connor McDavid, Wayne Gretzky, Jamie Foxx, Barry Sanders and Kevin Garnett promoting BetMGM.

Auston Matthews represents Bet99 while JB Smoove appears on behalf of Caesars and Dan O'Toole for BetRivers.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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