CMHA urges AGCO to place blanket ban on igaming advertisements

The Canadian Mental Health Association wants greater protection for the most vulnerable

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has been urged by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to prohibit all forms of igaming advertising in the province.

The non-profit organization recently published a letter sent to the AGCO on May 10, in which it responded to the Ontario crown agency’s invitation for stakeholders to offer their perspectives on its proposal to ban the use of athletes as part of a significant reform of online gambling advertising standards.

The deadline for respondents was initially May 8, before being extended by a week to May 15.

Under the suggested new rules, announced last month, operators and suppliers in Ontario would be required to cease any activities that use athletes – active or retired – in gaming marketing and advertising.

The CMHA has called the AGCO’s proposed changes to the Registrar’s Standards “helpful”, but has implored the Commission to go further and “prohibit all advertising for igaming due to the detrimental impact it has on youth, vulnerable individuals and their families”.

Outlining three key areas, the association wants the AGCO to:

• Minimize the disproportionate impact of gambling-related harms on vulnerable communities by including equity considerations in policies and program implementation
• Protect youth (25 years and under) from advertising and promotion enticing them to gamble
• Protect all Ontarians by taking a public health approach to regulating and measuring the impact of igaming

The CMHA included specific measures for action for each point, adding that a “comprehensive approach towards prevention, harm reduction and treatment” is required.

“We are pleased to offer our support and expertise to create a safer igaming environment in Ontario,” the letter concluded.

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