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Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s Ban on Athletes in iGaming Advertising

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recently announced updates to the regulations applicable to the Ontario iGaming market, placing significant restrictions on the use of active and retired athletes and social media influencers in advertising in the regulated market.

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The regulation of advertising activities has been one of the most controversial issues faced by Ontario regulators since the opening of the Ontario regulated iGaming market in April of 2022. In April of 2023, the AGCO held a consultation process on its advertising standards, consulting with a broad range of stakeholders including mental health and public health organizations, responsible gambling experts, gaming operators, broadcast and marketing groups, and the public.

As a result of such consultations, the AGCO has announced today that effective as of February 28, 2024, the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming, one of the main policy documents governing the Ontario market, will prohibit the use of active and retired athletes in iGaming advertising and marketing except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices. The changes also prohibit advertising using social media influencers if such social media influencers would be expected to appeal to minors.

The changes also broaden the scope of other advertising prohibitions in the standards. For instance, while the previous standards prohibited advertising “whose primary appeal is” to minors this language has been replaced with language prohibiting advertising “likely to be expected to” appeal to minors. Similarly, while previously the Standards required advertisers to take “precautions” to limit advertising to known high-risk players, the new Standards require that “measures” be put in place to limit such advertising.

The aim of these changes is to broaden the scope of the authority given to the AGCO and other Ontario regulatory bodies to restrict the content of advertisements in the Ontario iGaming market, with the particular aim of helping safeguard vulnerable groups such as children and youth, who can be particularly susceptible to such advertising content.

Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO, AGCO had the following to say about these changes: “children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to. [The ACGO is] therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”[1]

It remains to be seen whether these will be the sole changes resulting from the AGCO’s consultation process on advertising activities, or whether more changes are forthcoming.

If you have any questions about these changes to the Standards or how they impact your business we would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to visit our Vancouver offices, contact us at 1-800-604-1312 or via


***The above blog post is provided for informational purposes only and has not been tailored to your specific circumstances. This blog post does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice and may not be relied upon as such.**