Compliance Corner: Best Practises for iGaming Advertising and Marketing in Ontario

Compliance Corner: Best Practises for iGaming Advertising and Marketing in Ontario cover

Compliance Corner: Best Practises for iGaming Advertising and Marketing in Ontario

March 16, 2022

The legalization of single-event sports betting last year was a significant event for Canada’s online gaming industry. Bill C-218’s passing allowed provinces such as Ontario to start forming their iGaming framework to allow international gaming merchants to move into the province. An integral part of their framework is responsible advertising. 

“We all have a role to play to maintain responsible advertising for iGaming,” said David Smith, Director of Market Strategy and Insights at iGaming Ontario, during the Responsible Advertising for iGaming webinar, presented by IAB Canada and ThinkTV.

With Ontario’s iGaming market going live in April, iGaming merchants and their affiliates expanding into the province will have to meet regulatory requirements, which includes practicing responsible advertising and marketing standards. 

Two Major Benefits For iGaming Operators:

  • Build market trust: iGaming operators can earn consumer buy-in by working with their affiliates and regulators to create responsible messaging.

  • Engage consumers: By following market standards and promoting responsible gaming campaigns and advertisements, iGaming merchants can strengthen relationships with consumers.

The Process Part 1: Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (AGCO)

According to the AGCO, “The Registrar Standards for Internet Gaming will come into force on April 4, 2022, when the regulated igaming market is launched in Ontario.”

An important part of the AGCO’s Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming is advertising and marketing. The core principles of the AGCO’s responsible advertising standards can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Protect individuals: Through responsible advertising, AGCO aims to work with operators in protecting individuals who are underage, at high risk, and have self-excluded themselves from online gambling.

  • Stay truthful: iGaming operators must not misguide consumers through advertisements of their products or promotions. Offers cannot promote excessive play or require players to incur substantial losses.

  • Restrict inducements: To tackle gambling-related problems, iGaming operators may only advertise inducements, bonuses, and credits on their websites.

The Process Part 2: Connecting With iGaming Ontario

iGaming operators who have registered with the AGCO and want to begin offering gaming services in Ontario must also meet the specific requirements and conditions, which include responsible advertising, set by iGaming Ontario.

iGaming Ontario’s marketing and advertising conditions can be broken down into five main categories:

  • Association: To ensure a satisfying gaming experience on a regulated site for players, iGaming operators must display an iGaming Ontario logo on their website, social media platforms, and paid visual media produced for the Ontario market.

  • Responsible gaming: iGaming operators moving into Ontario must also commit a portion of their gross gaming revenue generated in the province towards problem gambling prevention and responsible gaming campaigns. All advertising and marketing materials must include a responsible gambling message.

  • Location: iGaming merchants must make the best commercial efforts to restrict marketing and advertising outside of Ontario.

  • Direct marketing: In their direct marketing and advertising efforts, iGaming operators must also dedicate sufficient tools to ensure any self-excluded or ineligible individuals in Ontario aren’t targeted. 

  • Pre-launch material: Operators wanting to implement pre-launch messaging are welcome and encouraged to do it alongside the following disclaimer “Subject to successful AGCO registration and execution of an Operating agreement with iGaming Ontario.” Additionally, operators cannot use the iGaming Ontario logo in any of their pre-launch communications.

Additional Support

While meeting AGCO and iGaming Ontario standards and conditions is important, effective messaging is equally crucial. International iGaming operators wanting to create responsible and compelling marketing and advertising communications for the Canadian market can benefit from working with non-profit organizations such as IAB Canada and thinkTV.

IAB Canada is the only organization fully dedicated to the development and promotion of digital and interactive advertising in Canada. While thinkTV is a marketing and research association dedicated to the advancement of commercial television.

For more information regarding responsible iGaming marketing and advertising, please watch the following webinar presented by IAB Canada & thinkTV: Watch now

Also please visit: the iGaming resource centre

If you are thinking about expanding into Ontario, talk to our team of experts. We’re here to help.

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