Industry responds to AGCO’s formally adopted ad standards

CGA and RGC offered comment on the move

The industry knew the changes were coming and had time to adapt to the new ad standards put in place by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), but now that the rules are formally adopted, some industry leaders are acknowledging the changes and commending the group for the changes.

This week, the Canadian Gaming Association sent this email about the new rules to its members:

“Currently, there are over 20 individual requirements related to advertising standards which cover a wide range of activities from the location of outdoor advertising to the prohibition of mass-market advertising of bonuses or incentives, to requiring customers to opt-in to receive promotions from gaming operators, and the use of celebrities or endorsers who would be expected to appeal to minors.
Online gaming operators do not target minors and have robust “know your customer” (KYC) procedures for opening customer accounts and preventing minors from accessing sites registered to operate in Ontario.
In addition to the ACGO’s regulatory standards, operators must submit all TV commercials to thinkTV for clearance. Together these provide a high level of scrutiny and all licensed iGaming operators must be in full compliance before a commercial can air on television.
Ontario has some of the most robust regulatory standards in the world, which the industry actively supports.”
One of the industry leaders in the country, the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) issued a press release about the new rules, commending the regulator for taking steps to ensure online gambling advertising is held to high standards.

“Usually a regulator will develop regulations and then keep those regulations for a decade before they do anything,” said RGC CEO Shelley White. “But this regulator, the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario), has made it a priority that it’s going to monitor the regulations and make changes as they see changes are required.”

“It’s rare, actually, for regulators to do that. It is well known that the province of Ontario is a leader in responsible gambling globally.”

Advocacy groups from outside the industry are also weighing in.

The Canadian Mental Health Association issued a statement this week applauding the effort and advocating to potentially add more restrictions in the future.

“With the gamification of online gambling, youth are especially at risk of gambling-related harms,” said CMHA Ontario spokesperson Camille Quenneville. “These restrictions are a crucial first step in the regulatory action needed to reverse the alarming trends in online gambling among youth in Ontario.”

”We encourage a public health approach to regulating iGaming,” Quenneville added. “This includes implementing further restrictions on advertising and marketing until all advertising for iGaming is completely prohibited.”

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