AGCO Clarifies New Advertising Regulations: Poker Players Can Appear in iGaming Ads

With new advertising and marketing regulations set to take effect on February 28, AGCO has shed more light on what that will mean for different groups of celebrities and professional athletes.
AGCO Clarifies New Advertising Regulations: Poker Players Can Appear in iGaming Ads
February 27, 2024

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of confusion and speculation regarding the changes to the igaming advertising rules in Ontario, as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced it would be introducing some changes.

Specifically, AGCO has been adamant about changing marketing rules to ban professional athletes and influencers who hold lots of sway with underage Canadians from appearing in gaming ads.

Yet, until now, there has been a lot of confusion about what that will mean exactly and what groups of people in particular will be impacted.

Most recently, AGCO revealed some more information for Pokerfuse and explained that professional poker players like Daniel Negreanu will still be able to appear in such ads as long as they don’t fall into the group of people who appeal to minors.

Further clarifications are set to come soon, as the new marketing and advertising standards are set to take effect on February 28. However, the specific definitions may still be lacking even once the rules are entirely in place.

AGCO Clarifies the Term “Athlete”

It has been almost a full year since AGCO announced it would change the advertising and marketing standards for the igaming industry in Ontario. Ever since then, the Commission has been working with industry insiders to iron out the details before putting the changes into effect.

Despite all that, there was still much confusion about what the changes would involve. While it was fairly clear that current and professional high-profile athletes, like Wayne Gretzky, would no longer be allowed to appear in gambling ads, the appearances of the likes of Daniel Negreanu were more open to interpretation.

This month, AGCO finally came out with a more detailed explanation, stating that the term “professional athlete” included all Olympic athletes and active and retired players from leagues like NHL, NFL, NBA, CFL, MLB, MLS, and Premier League.

Professional poker players don’t fall under the scope of this definition. AGCO further added that: “If iGaming operators consider using poker players in their ads, they must ensure they do not meet the description of celebrities, influencers, role models or entertainers who would likely be expected to appeal to minors.”

So, players like Negreanu will have a chance to capitalize on their popularity in the gambling world and appear in ads, so long as their general personas and other content don’t appeal to young audiences in any way. This could mean we see Negreanu in some online poker ads ahead of the upcoming WSOP 2024 over the next few months.

Social Influencers and StreamersTargeted by New Regulation

The rise of streaming platforms like Twitch and social media personalities who have built their entire careers on creating content for the internet has been exponential over the last few years.
AGCO recognizes the impact and popularity some of these personas have and has thus decided to target them with the new marketing and advertising regulations as well.

Since many streamers and influencers target younger audiences directly, the new rules will mean such personas are not allowed to appear in igaming ads in the future.

The regulator stated that: “While the AGCO recognizes the fluid nature of individuals’ appeal to different groups, given that public interest and appeal is dynamic, we encourage registrants to use their judgment to determine whether the individual likely appeals to minors.”

While it is unclear which streamers may or may not be allowed to appear in ads, the likes of Alexandra Botez may find it difficult to land igaming marketing deals in Ontario in the future, thanks to the nature of their channels and their appeal to the younger generations.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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