Fatigue among Canadians over gambling ads and doubt as to whether industry advertising is truly educating the audience about who can legally operate betting sites in different provinces are two major takeaways from Ipsos polling released this week.
As Ontario awaits the industry’s third-quarter numbers that will no doubt show further growth in the province’s market, Ipsos polling and social-listening data finds that nearly half of Canadians (48 percent) agree (17 percent strongly, 31 percent somewhat) that the amount and volume of gambling advertising are too much and need to be cut back.
According to the polling, 63 percent of Canadians now agree (21 percent strongly, 42 percent somewhat) that there should be limits on the amount and/or placement of advertising, with support ranging from 59 percent in B.C. to 69 percent in Atlantic Canada.
Critics on social media have been even more vocal, according to Ipsos. A social-listening analysis found that negative posts about sports betting advertising had increased by 820 percent between July and October 2022.
No one can dispute the popularity of digital gaming, especially in Ontario, Canada’s first province to open a competitive market early last April. Dozens of formerly “gray-market” private betting companies made the move over to the regulated market.
According to Ipsos data, 47 percent of Ontario adults say they’ve done some form of online gambling in the past year. That’s compared to 40 percent of all Canadian adults.
Thirty-five percent of Ontarians have played online casino games (slots, poker, table games), compared to 30 percent of all Canadians, while 24 percent of Ontarians have played online bingo (compared to 20 per ent of all Canadians). Thirty percent of Ontarians have tried sports betting (compared to 22 percent of all Canadians).
Canadians are less enthusiastic about the quality of the ads; 42 percent said the ads aren’t enjoyable to watch. The 18-24 age range was especially harsh, with 54 percent saying gambling ads aren’t enjoyable.
So while criticizing the creative, it’s also clear, according to the polling, that gambling ads need to pinpoint more accurately who can and cannot legally operate in a particular region. While the market is open and competitive in Ontario, that isn’t the situation in the other provinces and territories, where igaming is offered only on government platforms.
In Ontario, 49 percent said both government and private operators are eligible, which is accurate. A slim majority of 54 percent in Quebec said the government can operate legally, which is true, but many there also thought that online gambling was private or a combination of government and private, or simply didn’t know.
Many residents in other provinces believe that both government and private companies can legally operate, which again isn’t the case: 39 percent in B.C., 42 percent in Alberta, 29 percent in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 27 percent in Atlantic Canada.
The Ipsos poll was conducted Nov. 17-22 and interviewed 2,002 Canadians aged 18 and older.