AGCO updates Standards impacting iGaming advertising in Ontario

Today the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) made significant updates to the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming which will impact IAB Canada members.

As of February 28th, 2024, igaming operators will no longer be able to use active or retired athletes in their marketing and advertising except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices. In addition, celebrities, role models, social media influencers, entertainers, cartoon figures, and symbols who “would likely be expected to appeal to minors” will also be restricted from use which broadens the existing standard that prior to this change prohibited the use of advertising and marketing content with a “primary appeal to minors”.

New requirements are bolded and underlined below – At a minimum, materials and communications shall not:

  1. Be based on themes, or use language, intended to appeal primarily to minors.
  2. Appear on billboards or other outdoor displays that are directly adjacent to schools or other primarily youth-oriented locations. 
  3. Use or contain cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities, or entertainers who would likely be expected to appeal to minors. [This requirement has been changed]
  4. Use active or retired athletes, who have an agreement or arrangement made directly or indirectly between an athlete and an operator or gaming-related supplier, in advertising and marketing except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices. [This requirement is new]
  5. Use individuals who are, or appear to be, minors to promote gaming.
  6. Appear in media and venues, including on websites, and in digital or online media, directed primarily to minors, or where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be minors.
  7. Exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of all potentially high-risk persons, or otherwise extoll the virtues of gaming.
  8. Entice or attract potentially high-risk players. Instead, measures shall be in place to limit marketing communications to all known high-risk players. [This requirement has been changed]

These amendments were made in response to the regulator’s recent consultation that looked at the potential harm these marketing approaches could cause to minors as they feel that the new rules will help safeguard children and youth who can be particularly susceptible to such advertising content. You can find the full release here.

IAB Canada members who are working in this space should review the new standards carefully to ensure that the requirements are clear as the deadline approaches. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available but, in the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out. Also, if you are not already a member of our igaming working group and would like to join please reach out to