• By: Allen Brown

Regulators Strike Gambling Ad Rules in Ontario

Back in 2003, gambling was officially made legal in Ontario. In 2022, online gambling was also made legal in the province, leading to a huge increase in Ontario online gambling, with wagers totalling $14 billion placed in the first quarter of 2023. Clearly, the people of Ontario have a strong passion for gambling — but gambling operators will soon have to start making some changes to how they advertise. 

New Gambling Ad Rules in Ontario 

In 2023, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) finalized new rules regarding gambling ads. These rules, which will go into effect at the end of February 2024, mean that, except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices, Ontario gambling operators and Canadian low stakes bookmakers can no longer use the following to advertise or endorse their sportsbooks and online casinos:

Regarding the athletes rule, AGCO noted that:

“It encompasses a wide range of athletes from various sports and would include examples such as eSports, darts, and bowling.”


This is interesting and is likely going to have a huge impact on the industry. After all, gambling ads are the main tool used by operators to attract new customers, which is why (in the past) they’ve paid out big money to athletes and celebrities to feature in their ads. For example, in 2021, online gambling advertising spend in the US was a record-breaking $1 billion. Now, though, this is all going to change, as gambling operators must follow strict guidelines when creating their ads and marketing materials. 

Why Did Ontario Implement New Gambling Ad Rules? 

The implementation of these rules by the AGCO came in the aftermath of criticism from industry experts and parents, who believe that the explosion of online gambling could have a negative impact on their underage children. As a result of the new rules, Canada expects the safeguarding of its children from gambling to be much better, especially now that there will be no athletes or social media influencers (who are very popular with Gen Z) featuring in Ontario’s gambling advertisements. 

Which Companies Will Be Affected by the New Gambling Ad Rules in Ontario? 

Gambling is legal in Ontario, so lots of Ontario gambling operators are going to feel the impact of the new ad rules. Some of the main operators are TonyBet and Bet99, who will have to readjust their future marketing efforts. This ban might also prompt operators outside of Ontario (and Canada) to start making plans in case any new rules like this were to impact them in the future, too. 

What Does This Mean for Ontario’s Future Gambling Ads? 

With new ad rules in place, you can expect Ontario’s future gambling ads to be highly creative and more experimental. At the same time, you might also notice a decrease in gambling ads in the short-term until the major companies can develop new marketing plans that don’t break the rules that have been implemented. The main issue operators will face is putting together ads that don’t feature elements that might appeal to minors, such as the use of social media  influencers, which is something that’s difficult to do in the world of online gambling.