QUEEN’S PARK – Today, John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South and Interim Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, will table a motion in the Legislature calling for stricter regulation of the online sports betting and gambling advertisements that have gotten out of hand and pose a danger to vulnerable persons, especially our youth.
“Since the legalization of sports betting in Ontario, Ontarians have been beaten over the head by gambling advertisements while watching sports, listening to the radio, using social media, or simply walking down the street,” said MPP Fraser. “And while the registrar’s standards outline that these ads should not be targeted towards minors, children watching sports have been subject to this drastic increase of advertisements.”
In a 2021 report, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that, even before the legalization of single-game sports betting, 15% of students in grades 7 to 12 reported gambling with money online in the previous year, up from 4% in 2019.
While the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has proposed important changes that would prohibit celebrities from promoting online gambling, they do not fully address what must be done. We are urging the Government to work with relevant regulatory bodies and stakeholders, like the AGCO, to further regulate the frequency of online gambling and sports betting advertisements, specifically during live television, radio, and online sporting events.
“Mental health and addictions are a public health matter and we have an obligation to treat them as such,” added MPP Fraser. “Regulation of the frequency at which online gambling and sports betting advertisements are shown during live sporting events is the very least we can do to combat gambling addictions and uphold our commitment to protecting Ontarians’ mental health and wellbeing.”