AGCO Implements Stricter Measures to Safeguard Minors from Influential Figures in iGaming Advertising

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has implemented additional restrictions for online gaming (iGaming) commercials and marketing in order to safeguard kids from potentially dangerous promotional content. The revised guidelines, which will go into effect on February 28, 2024, are in response to concerns about the use of sportsmen and celebrities in promotional efforts that may appeal to kids.

Because of the AGCO’s proactive stance to regulating iGaming operations, its Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming have been revised. The major goal is to reduce the possible harmful influence of advertising and marketing content that targets kids by utilizing important personalities such as sports and celebrities. The AGCO recognizes the considerable effect that athletes and celebrities have over young people and seeks to limit any danger associated with such sponsorships.

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The AGCO identified the need for enhanced controls against marketing methods employing sports and celebrities after the debut of Ontario’s regulated iGaming sector and a year of monitoring. The commission recognized the potential for these figures to appeal to youngsters, demanding tougher measures to safeguard underage persons from exposure to information that may encourage involvement in gaming activities.

The AGCO launched consultations in April 2023 to gather varied viewpoints on their plan to limit the use of sportsmen and celebrities in iGaming advertising. Participants included representatives from mental health and public health organizations, responsible gambling specialists, gaming operators, broadcast and marketing groups, and members of the general public. The ensuing consensus backed the AGCO’s position on the additional limits.

The updated standards outlined by the AGCO encompass two critical aspects. Firstly, registered Ontario iGaming operators will be prohibited from featuring active or retired athletes in their marketing and advertising materials, except when these figures are advocating for responsible gambling practices. Secondly, the AGCO is tightening the reins on the usage of celebrities, role models, entertainers, and symbols that might appeal to minors. This extension includes social media influencers, cartoon characters, and other personas that could resonate with a younger audience.

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Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO of AGCO, emphasized the rationale behind these measures, saying, “Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to. We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”

As a part of its mandate, AGCO continually assesses emerging risks within its regulated sectors and adapts its standards to address these evolving challenges. The commission’s latest amendments to the Standards for Internet Gaming underscore its commitment to fostering a responsible and secure gaming environment in Ontario.

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