Ontario Senator submits new bill aimed at uniting govt & provinces in sports betting ads battle

Sen. Marty Deacon says the situation is 'getting out of hand'

Senator Marty Deacon is stoking the flames of the sports betting ads argument further with a proposal of her own to curb the amount Canadians are subjected to on a daily basis.

Under the terms of the legislation suggested yesterday through a Senate Public Bill, the government would collaborate closely with the country’s provinces and relevant stakeholders in order to set guidelines and regulate sports betting ads in Canada.

“The reality is you cannot sit down in this country to enjoy a sport without being exposed to a barrage of such advertising,” bemoaned Deacon at a press conference on Tuesday. “These ads, though, are much more than just annoying, and they can lead to addictions and other harms, through gambling problems.”

Speaking at Parliament Hill, Deacon referenced this year’s NHL play-offs which saw one game in particular – the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Florida Panthers – include nearly nine minutes of sports betting ads within its broadcast.

According to the Senator, this situation is “getting out of hand”.

Proposing changes to the current system, she said: “The truth of the matter is, we do have national advertising standards on tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis – so it makes little sense to me that sports betting would be exempt from this.

“I also think it would be in the interest of the industry to have one set of rules to abide by nationally.”

According to Deacon, the legislation would see the government working with provinces and other stakeholders to:

  • “identify measures to regulate the advertising of game sports betting in Canada, such as limiting or banning the participation of celebrity athletes, restricting the use of non-broadcast advertising, or by limiting the number, scope or location of such advertisements;
  • identify measures to promote research and intergovernmental information sharing in relation to the prevention and diagnosis of minors involved in problematic gambling activities and support measures for those who are impacted by it; and
  • set out national standards for the prevention and diagnosis of problematic gambling and addiction and for support measures for those who are impacted by this; and
  • task the CRTC with reviewing its regulations and policies to assess their adequacy and effectiveness in reducing the incidence of harms resulting from the proliferation of advertising and sport event betting.”

Sat next to Deacon at the press conference was Senator Brent Cotter – himself a former law professor – who agreed that the pervasiveness of the ads deters from the sports event itself.

Cotter remarked: “People can make their own choices about how they enjoy sporting events, but it has detracted from the kind of core and culture of what we have generally embraced with respect to sports.”

Deacon, meanwhile, is aware of the difficulties surrounding the movement, but is adamant that any kind of support from the federal government could change the course of history.

She said: “The government can do whatever they like on whatever day they wish with this.

“If the executive of government phoned us up tomorrow and said we have a slightly better bill, I would be as happy as can be.”

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