Senators call for framework on sports betting ads to be created
Marty Deacon and Brent Cotter, who both backed the passing of Bill C-218 almost two years ago, are now advocating for establishing guidelines and regulating advertising across the industry.
In this issue:
Senator brings forward a bill on sports betting advertising
Casino resort opens its doors in the city below Aurora
Sen. Brent Cotter, Chuck Keeling to join LinkedIn Audio
FSGA releases survey results
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Canadian senators join the call for putting guardrails on sports betting ads
When we interviewed Senator Marty Deacon 26 months ago for a Toronto Star column on the push forward to legal sports betting in our home and native land, she told us that she was leaning towards giving Bill C-218 her approval.
“A few years ago, I did have issues and concerns similar to others around gambling, health and well-being,” Deacon said then. “I support this bill in principle, but am anxious to study and familiarize myself with it more when it arrives in the Senate.”
This week, the Senator announced she is taking action to crack down on the avalanche of sports betting advertising by introducing a Senate Public Bill to establish guidelines and regulate ads across the industry. The high-level information with regards to Bill S-269, National Framework on Advertising for Sports Betting Act, which calls on the Heritage Minister (currently, that would be Pablo Rodriguez) to work with federal, provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders to:
identify measures to regulate the advertising of sports betting in Canada, with a view to restricting the use of such advertising, limiting the number, scope or location — or a combination of these — of the advertisements or to limiting or banning the participation of celebrities and athletes in the promotion of sports betting;
identify measures to promote research and intergovernmental information-sharing related both to the prevention and diagnosis of minors involved in harmful gambling activities and to support measures for persons who are impacted by it; and
set out national standards for the prevention and diagnosis of harmful gambling and addiction and for support measures for persons who are impacted by it.
Also, the bill calls on the Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission (CRTC) to review “its regulations and policies to assess their adequacy and effectiveness in reducing the incidence of harms resulting from the proliferation of advertising and sport event betting”.
Both Deacon and Sen. Brent Cotter, with whom we also spoke for that Toronto Star piece in April 2021, explained their reasons Tuesday for taking this step.
“The reality is you cannot sit down in this country to enjoy a sport without being exposed to a barrage of such advertising,” Deacon said. “These ads, though, are much more than just annoying, and they can lead to addictions and other harms, through gambling problems.”
Added Cotter, who was a supporter of Bill C-218 when it was passed in the Senate during the summer of 2021 and was Attorney General of Saskatchewan in the 1990s when the province introduced gaming and casinos: “People can make their own choices about how they enjoy sporting events, but it (the advertising) has detracted from the kind of core and culture of what we have generally embraced with respect to sports,” Cotter said.
The introduction of the bill coincides with a whole lot of the proverbial moving parts.
There have been crackdowns on advertising and sponsorship by sports betting companies in Europe and Australia. In the June edition of the U.S. Sports Betting Policy Monitor released yesterday, monitor author Eilers & Krejcik Gaming wrote, “bills proposing new advertising restrictions show no signs of slowing, with lawmakers in several states introducing bills on the topic”.
In Ontario, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission is expected to announce by the end of next week changes to standards around the use of athletes and other celebrities in advertising. The Canadian Gaming Association and its members have been advocating for the creation of a working group which would include operators, regulators, sports leagues and teams to collaborate on new standards.
Over the past 10 days, Bell Media has cut six per cent of its staff - including several high-profile and longstanding CTV journalists - and shut down TSN 1260 Radio in Edmonton while The Athletic (now owned by the NY Times although it has a large presence on the Canadian sports media scene) also let go 20 employees. There have also been rumblings of job cuts this summer at Rogers Sports & Media, which would create an even bleaker picture for a Canadian media industry despite receiving an influx of advertising revenue since January 2022 from regulated sports betting operators in Ontario along with provincial lottery and gaming corporations across the country.
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Toronto’s new casino resort is open for your playing pleasure
There’s still some work to be done, but the Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto is open for business.
The new property, located a driver (or so) away from Woodbine Racetrack, unveiled its gaming floor and five restaurants late Tuesday afternoon to the public, Great Canadian Entertainment and other officials, along with members of the fourth estate. Canadian country singer Lindsay Ell (that’s Ell in the photo taken by the Toronto Sun’s Jack Boland) hit black on the first spin of the roulette wheel and donated the $100,000 prize to the LGBT Youthline. The 328,000-square-foot gaming space includes 4,800 slot games, 145 live table games, VIP rooms, and sports betting kiosks. When completed, the casino resort will also include a 400-room hotel and a 5,000-seat entertainment venue. Oh yes, there’s also a 250,000-square-foot green roof that’s hailed as the second-largest in the true north, strong and free.
Great Canadian Entertainment executive VP Chuck Keeling spoke last week with Play Canada managing editor Dave Briggs about the company’s investment in the country’s largest casino property.
“There’s a bit of a surreal nature to it being five years in the making,” Keeling said during his interview with Briggs. “Going through COVID, winning the bid, having this opportunity to demonstrate [our commitment] the provincial government, to the city of Toronto, to OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming) and to all of our community partners through the community benefits agreement.
“We’ve got a lot of external stakeholders here and a big audience, never mind the market itself. We have a lot to prove. And we were pretty excited to get these doors open and show the market and our stakeholders the first phase of it with a whole pile more coming.”
Deacon, Cotter and Keeling to join Gaming News Canada Show
Senators Deacon and Cotter, along with Keeling, are scheduled to be our guests on the Gaming News Canada Show presented by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP this afternoon on LinkedIn Audio.
A reminder that we’re dropping the puck an hour earlier at 1 p.m. ET, when the senator will lead off the show with his thoughts on Bill S-269. Keeling is scheduled to hop on at 1:30ish to speak with us about the official opening of Great Canadian’s new casino resort adjacent to Woodbine Racetrack in the northwest end of Toronto. As always, we’ll also tackle the other happenings around the world of sports betting and gaming with our regular cast of characters.
And, ICYMI, our live remote from the final day of the Canadian Gaming Summit delivered a steady stream of guests including Martha Otton and Mitch Davidson from iGaming Ontario, GNCS regulars Amanda Brewer and Nic Sulsky, Canadian Gaming Association boss Paul Burns, Friend of Gaming News Canada Benjie Cherniak, and Dennis Algreen from SBC.
Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association releases survey results
While we were sipping cappuccinos and racking up the steps on our Health app last week during the Canadian Gaming Summit, the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association was wrapping up its Summer Conference in Cleveland.
The FSGA timed the release of an exclusive study conducted by Angus Reid on its behalf in concert with the conference. Some highlights from the findings of the research:
Legal sports wagering and fantasy sports are engaged by more than 81 million adults across the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., this represents a seven-per-cent increase in total bettors/players since 2022 and 26-per-cent growth compared to 2021, illustrating that any losses experienced in the industry due to COVID have been erased.
There has been a lower level of crossover between consumers participating in both fantasy and betting. In the U.S., exclusive fantasy players increased from 13 percent to 21 percent year-over year (YoY), exclusive bettors increased from 28 per cent to 34 percent YoY, while the crossover audience decreased from 59 per cent to 45 per cent YoY. These changes indicate that consumers are becoming more discerning, increasing the importance of companies to better understand their players and to provide the right types of games based on their players’ interests.
The study also indicated that existing bettors continue to migrate from offshore accounts to regulated ones, with the percentage of sports bettors using offshore accounts dropping 48 per cent YoY in legal markets and those using in-person bookies being cut in half.
The consolidation seen in the DFS space is even more evident in the sports betting space, which is further evidence of market maturation. 66 per cent of bettors claim their primary betting platform as one of the two most popular operators. This suggests the importance of retention within the universe, rather than acquisition from outside the fold.
Fantasy sports play is down in Canada due to the emergence of legalized sports wagering as well as Ontario’s implementation of unsustainable paid fantasy regulations.
Sports bettors and fantasy players continue to skew younger males.
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