Canadian Gaming Association leader addresses Advertising Standards changes

September 22, 2023 2:04 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
September 22, 2023 2:04 PM

In an interview with Gaming News Canada, Canadian Gaming Association president and CEO Paul Burns said he told association members that people in Ontario’s  igaming industry just want to comply with Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario changes to its Advertising Standards.

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But understanding how to comply is another thing.

“We talked about the new AGCO Advertising Standards, and the fact we wrote to the AGCO and requested to participate in the creation of a compliance guidance document,” Burns said. “What is the difference between a celebrity and a retired athlete? Or what metrics will be used to determine what appeals to minors? What will they use to decide those things or what will they want the industry to use? Because everyone just wants to comply. That’s the objective at the end of the day.”

The AGCO has banned the use of athletes in internet gaming advertising and marketing in Ontario. Standards also have been strengthened to restrict the use of celebrities “who would likely be expected to appeal to minors,” the AGCO said in a statement last month. Igaming ads like the ones for BetMGM featuring Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid and retired sports stars Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Garnett, for example, will soon no longer be seen in Ontario.

Burns pointed out the past issues the industry had with the bonus and incentive language and how it was trial and error with some operators. That wasn’t constructive with many operators.

“There was money spent on programs that got tossed to the side,” Burns said during the podcast, adding that there is an opportunity now to work with the AGCO and clarify what those definitions are. “There are a lot of questions.”

The association’s state of the union address by Burns is a bi-annual event, so members – some of whom are based elsewhere around the globe – can gather industry information and get an update on what the CGA has been up to. They last did one of these in the spring.

Senate Bills S-268 and S-269 were other topics of discussion. CGA members wanted to hear more about how they are being monitored.

“We will engage with the senators and see how they plan to proceed with their legislation,” Burns said.

S-268 amends the criminal code and gives First Nations the same authority to conduct and manage lotteries on its reserve as the provinces.

“That strikes at the heart of the way gaming has been organized for the past 35 years,” Burns said. “Provincial governments are interested in watching this and we all need to know what the impacts will be.”

S-269 provides for the development of a national framework to regulate advertising for sports betting in Canada and to set new standards for prevention of risk.

There’s also Canada’s anti-money laundering legislation expected this fall. CGA submitted on behalf of the industry to educate and inform Finance Canada in the policy-making process, focusing on “the amazing technology available in the gaming space, the use of geolocation, AI platforms, that gives operators much more intelligence.

“We had a robust submission and look forward to that parliamentary review,” Burns said, “because the money-laundering legislation in Canada is obsolete. It doesn’t mention sports betting, horse racing continues to be excluded and casinos are defined as four walls, physical space, which is the not the way it is anymore.”