Canadian Mental Health Association Calls for Banning All EyeGaming Advertisements

The Canadian Mental Health Association calls for more drastic changes when it comes to online gambling advertising in the country. CMHA recently proposed banning all i-gaming ads as a way to protect teenagers and young people. The recommendation to Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario comes amid a proposal by regulators to ban the use of sports stars in advertising.

The recent surge in advertising for online gambling and sports betting can be explained by the introduction of Ontario’s open iGaming market for third-party operators in April 2022. This has attracted attention from some of the industry’s biggest operators, who have already become available, and their ads are now overcrowded with TV broadcasts, especially during sporting events.

In a report to the Ontario regulator, CMHA noted that the number of seventh- to 12th-grade students betting on online gambling in the state is rising to a worrying level. The organization cited a 2021 study by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health that found that about 15% of students in the province participated in eye-gaming, which costs real money. This is a 4% increase from 2020.

CMHA also said that despite regulations in the iGaming market last year, some online betting sites remain unregulated and are based offshore. In addition, an IPSOS survey released in April 2023 found that 85% of respondents who gambled online in the province gambled through one of a number of regulated websites, but more action is needed.

Last month, iGaming monitors came up with a proposal to ban famous athletes or influencers from appearing in gambling ads as a way to protect young demographics. The proposal to ban celebrity advertising is that such popular faces can easily appeal to children and teenagers, and because marketing approaches strongly appeal to people under the legal age of gaming in the region.

Mental health officials, however, noted that advertising is still affecting minors and adolescents whose brains are not fully developed by the age of 25, and that they are more inclined to take risks. It reminded me that gambling-related problems, such as financial losses, mental health difficulties, medication, and suicidal thoughts, can have long-term effects on gamblers and their families.

The association also noted that the risk is high, especially in low-income families, and that there should be a limit on how long you can bet online and how long you can bet. The association recommends limiting iGame ads to the least likely time of day for children, saying they will help the industry find the next generation of betting companies.

In April 2023, Ontario marked its first year since legalizing the online gaming market for private operators. In the first 12 months of operations, the market generated a betting volume of C$35.6 billion, which brought in approximately $1.4 billion in revenue. There were more than 1 million players

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