There is no question that gambling focused advertising in Ontario has increased. The advertising wave came after single event betting went legal in 2021. Assumptions were that the initial advertising wave would recede, but it seems only to be increasing. An expert prediction suggested that the advertising push may last for another year. Another year may just be too much for Canadians to handle. Experts across Canada are now starting to ask if the commercial tsunami is going too far.
Locals are starting to express frustration, even those that enjoy online gambling entertainment. The Responsible Gambling Council has already come forward to say that the ads pose a serious problem. A spokesperson explained that those struggling with problem gambling are already at risk, and that the flood of ads is making things worse. The Responsible Gambling Council isn’t alone in their concerns.
It’s Starting To Get Annoying
Dave Hodge is known as the former host of Hockey Night In Canada. He is also known for being free with his sometimes-controversial opinion. It was for being outspoken that he lost his job in 1987. His now iconic tirade against CBC, the channel that dropped a hockey game in favour of the news, is still talked about.
He stated his opinion on the latest wave of gambling adverts, especially where Hockey Night In Canada is concerned. His opinion is that companies are attempting to incorporate gambling directly into sports content. He added that if this was the 1980s, he would be telling broadcasters to drop the advertising or risk him leaving. Hypothetically, of course.
He went on to declare that no matter what happened, he would be a hero for taking a stance. He elaborated that the channel would either get rid of the advertising, or he would lose his job for the opinion. He pointed out that either way he’d be a Canadian hero.
A Little Excessive
It’s one thing to hear the opinion of Hodge, but what about Waugh? Kevin Waugh was instrumental in getting single event betting legalised. His opinion on the matter seems to be shaking. He explained that he only sees the advertising in Ottawa. Once crossing the border, he stressed, his Twitter feed gets flooded with gambling ads. He concluded that he thinks things are going overboard.
Waugh added that his biggest shock is the partnerships. He expressed disbelief that athletes are rushing to sign up with gambling companies.
Responsible Gambling Worries
The loudest concern is coming from responsible gambling advocates. Shauna Altrogge is the director of the Gambling Awareness Program. She explained that gambling focused ads during games are the biggest offenders. She went on to stress that children watch the events, meaning that they inevitably consume the advertising.
She called the wave of ads fairly robust, while referring to sports betting app promotions as heavy. She stressed that there is no telling what impact all of this will have on children. Her conclusion is that it is all very worrying.
Elaine McDougall of the Responsible Gambling Council shared similar worries. She declared that if gambling is entertainment, the process of betting should be clearly explained. She added that there is a big difference between gambling money and money meant for rent.
12% Of Commercials Is Gambling
It all sounds very concerning but what are the facts? Veteran sports journalist Ken Campbell added his own thoughts. He explained that he engaged in an experiment. During a Hockey Night In Canada broadcast he kept track of gambling focused ads. The target broadcast included Game 4 of the Western and Eastern Conference finals.
His findings are that 12% of all Hockey Night in Canada advertising is based around betting. More specifically of the 285 promotions 35 were for sports betting. Some might say that the numbers aren’t that bad after all. What Campbell did say is that broadcasters are clearly keen on tapping into a big market. He pointed out that hundreds of millions are spent on sports betting every year.
The fact remains that Ontario residents and Canadians are feeling as if they’re in a flood. It might be time for gambling companies to ease up. Or it might even be time for stricter regulations on gambling focused promotions.