Expert Warns of Gambling Harm and Addiction from Sports Betting Ads in Canada

Posted On: June 7, 2023

Expert Warns of Gambling Harm and Addiction from Sports Betting Ads in Canada

Amid the ongoing expansion of sports wagering in North America, an expert has voiced support for the scrutiny of the advertising of gambling and betting activities in Canada. In the last five years, the sports betting market has seen exponential growth. This is attributed to the repeal of PASPA in the US and the introduction of legal online sports betting in Ontario last year.

Call for Regulation of Gambling Ads

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ontario division recently called for the implementation of strict rules for online gambling advertising to protect consumers from excessive gambling. This proposal came after the province’s regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), proposed changes to regulations that would prohibit celebrities or athletes from participating in advertisements of gambling products. However, the proposal would not completely restrict gambling ads.

Expert’s Concerns Over Gambling Advertising

Following an interview with VancouverSun, Luke Clark, the director of the University of British Columbia’s center for gambling research, warned that the popularity of sports betting could capture the attention of young adults or even children, resulting in harm and addiction. Speaking about the correlation between gambling behavior and gambling advertising, the director urged for “very close scrutiny” of gambling ads.

Addiction Risks with Sports Betting

According to Clark, it is paramount for proper data to be analyzed to determine the “uptake of sports betting products in particular and their impact on the rates of gambling problems.” At the same time, he warned that people can get addicted to wagering the same way they get addicted to other forms of gambling. Some of the issues faced by people addicted to gambling can include depression, bankruptcy, or even suicide.

Clark’s warning comes when the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is actively trying to engage with new audiences, primarily from a younger demographic who prefer the latest slots games and other casino games. Pat Davis, the CEO of Crown Corporation BCLC, explained that they are not trying to reach anyone under the legal age. However, he admitted that there is currently a “flood” of gambling advertising, and some do not adhere to the established regulatory framework.