OLG CEO backs AGCO advertising review, calls for ‘better balance’

Duncan Hannay suggests the current volume of ads could be 'offensive' to consumers

Duncan Hannay, OLG CEO, has delivered a positive verdict on the decision of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to conduct a review of online gambling advertising standards.

The AGCO announced its proposal to ban the use of athletes, celebrities and entertainers in gaming advertising and marketing back in April, and invited stakeholders to offer their perspectives.

It was subsequently revealed last week that the Ontario Crown agency had received approximately 40 submissions to aid its final decision.

Speaking before the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Monday, May 29, Hannay was questioned by New Democratic Member of Provincial Parliament France Gélinason on the rise in advertising in the Ontario market.

As reported by Covers, Gélinason was critical of the volume of advertisements during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Hannay responded: “We are facing 47 new legal operators in the igaming space. I think it would be appropriate to have a better balance of advertising, on balance. And I know that’s how the regulator is looking at this issue and reviewing input from stakeholders across the province, within the operator community, with outside interests, with public health organizations, and from OLG.”

The OLG CEO added that he thinks it is “wise” the AGCO is reviewing the advertising standards and that the government agency’s marketing complies with the regulator’s standards.

“Our feedback to them is in line with your feeling, I guess, from a consumer perspective, that the amount and the nature of the advertising can sometimes be seen as offensive,” Hannay told committee members.

“The use of celebrity endorsements, for example, from athletes or celebrities, as the case may be, I know is one of the areas that AGCO is looking at as they review the standard.”

Meanwhile, Karl Subban, father of the former ice hockey star PK, added his voice to the debate last week as he called for a limit to be placed on the number of sports betting advertisements.

The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising was also recently formed by a number of powerful organizations within sport, including MLB, NFL and FOX, to help address issues created by sports betting advertisements.

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