Karl Subban, father of the former ice hockey star PK Subban, has vocalised his opposition to the level of sports betting advertisements in Canada.
It’s a topic that has set tongues wagging recently, particularly in light of the proposal announced by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) last month to ban the use of athletes as part of a significant reform of online gambling advertising standards.
The Ontario crown agency has been engaging with a ‘broad range of stakeholders’ on the topic, and has received approximately 40 submissions to aid its final decision.
The proposal looks to have gained further momentum after the formation of the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, a voluntary organization made up of major sports leagues like MLB and NFL, and leading broadcasters such as Fox and NBCUniversal.
Subban, meanwhile, has joined the Campaign to Ban Ads for Gambling, which is calling for sports betting advertisements to be removed from all hockey broadcasts.
Specifically, the group and Subban are unhappy with the perceived pressure that gambling advertisements are having on vulnerable groups such as children, people with financial issues, and those with any mental health issues including addiction.
“We know what the science tells us, that the part of the brain that is responsible for decision making is not fully developed until you’re 25,” Subban told CTV News.
Asked what his thoughts would be if his son PK appeared in a sports gambling advertisement, Subban, who has two other sons in the professional ice hockey game – Malcolm and Jordan – said: “I’m still going to love him, but I’m not going to love him in those ads.
“It’s on them, it’s not on me. So many young people love him, but I don’t want the kids to love him in those gambling ads, and I’ll say that about any of the hockey stars who’re in these ads promoting something that doesn’t make us any better. It just makes some people richer.”
When asked if banning celebrities and athletes from the advertisements is the answer, Subban believes “anything will help,” and added that there’s a “need to limit the volume of these ads because the athletes, actors and actresses in these commercials are so powerful and influential”.
Alternatively, CTV News spoke in December with Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), who said that regulated online gambling is safer than the alternative of the last several years.
“Canadians were accessing gaming with no controls, no oversight, no protection. And that’s what this has done, that’s been the biggest change in the last 12 months,” said Burns.
As for the influx of the sports betting commercials featuring major sports stars, Burns said the view of the CGA is that “advertising is part of what comes with having a regulated gaming market and over time people will understand what the ads are.”