Canadians want a complete ban on bookmaker advertising

Canadians want a complete ban on bookmaker advertising

Some Canadians are not merely asking for the regulation of sports betting advertisements—they want them entirely abolished and are urging lawmakers in Ottawa to act accordingly. Calls for a comprehensive ban on sports betting ads resurfaced during a Wednesday meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.

This was the second meeting of the week focused on Bill S-269, the National Framework on Advertising for Sports Betting Act. The proposed legislation aims to create a national framework for sports betting advertisements. You can Pin Up giris right now and start placing bets. Unlike Canada, there are no difficulties with betting in Azerbaijan.

However, some experts advocate for prohibition rather than regulation

Bruce Kidd, a former Olympic distance runner and a key member of the Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling, testified before the Senate committee. He highlighted a “tsunami” of gambling ads since Canadian lawmakers decriminalized single-game sports betting in 2021. Kidd criticized the lack of debate on advertising implications prior to the legislation’s passage, calling it a significant public policy failure.

Kidd cited a 2022 Statistics Canada report indicating that around 300,000 Canadians are at moderate-to-severe risk of gambling problems. He mentioned receiving warnings from parents, coaches, and teachers about young people being influenced to gamble.

The federal government must take responsibility for this situation they’ve created,” Kidd asserted. “The most effective public health strategy is to ban these ads.

Weaponizing psychology

Steve Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and a representative of the Canadian Psychological Association, echoed Kidd’s call for a total ban. Joordens argued that gambling companies are “weaponizing psychology” to entice people to bet, normalizing and glorifying gambling in collaboration with sports and media companies to the point that over 19 million Canadians have participated in some form of gambling.

Joordens suggested that while adults who want to gamble know where to do so, those who don’t, including youth, shouldn’t be exposed to such marketing.

If we permit gambling, we must ban its marketing, just as we do with cigarettes and cannabis, Joordens told the committee.

No immediate ban

Since the authorization of single-game wagering and the launch of Ontario’s competitive iGaming market in 2022, the idea of prohibition has gained traction among critics and the public. A March Maru Public Opinion poll revealed that 59% of respondents favored an immediate nationwide ban on sports betting ads. In Ontario, opposition lawmakers proposed a bill to ban iGaming advertising last June, but it has seen little progress.

Even Bill S-269’s sponsor supports banning ads, yet questions remain about whether such a ban would withstand a court challenge, given that gambling may not present the same immediate harm as tobacco. Therefore, an outright ban might not be legally defensible.

“If the government aims for a full ban, I, along with many others, would welcome it,” Ontario Senator Marty Deacon said on Wednesday. “But we doubted this bill would survive a constitutional challenge if we pursued a complete ban and didn’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good.”

Nonetheless, calls for banning sports betting ads in Canada are unlikely to disappear, especially as more data becomes available.

A study released in January by CBC’s Marketplace and researchers from the University of Bristol analyzed five NHL games and two NBA games broadcast in Canada last October. They found that gambling-related messages were visible about 20% of the time on average.

Joordens told the Senate committee that estimates of problem gambling range from 2% to 5%, but these figures are based on self-reporting and likely underestimate the problem, as most addicts deny their issues until they hit rock bottom. Furthermore, he said gambling addiction has a recidivism rate of over 90%.

Once addicted, it’s almost impossible to stop, Joordens emphasized.

An alternative approach

Bill S-269 also proposes that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) review its regulations and policies to assess their effectiveness in reducing the harms from the proliferation of sports betting ads.

This could open another path for modifying sports betting advertising practices in Canada, as the CRTC has already restricted alcohol marketing on television and radio. The CRTC’s alcohol ad code, for instance, prohibits commercials that entice non-drinkers to buy alcohol.

“All this exposure to gambling promotion is likely to cause harm,” said Jean-François Crépault, a senior policy analyst with CAMH, during Wednesday’s meeting. “In Ontario, there’s already been a rapid increase in the number of people seeking help for problems specifically related to sports betting.”


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