The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario recommends the prohibition of all advertising for online gambling due to its detrimental impact on vulnerable individuals and their families.
Mental health group calls on Ontario to ban gambling advertising https://t.co/1ik5iW8sOQ
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) May 16, 2023
Related Fast Facts
- Surveys indicate that the percentage of students self-reporting betting money on online gambling increased from four percent in 2019 to 15 percent in 2021.
- CMHA Ontario‘s 2022 poll found that 35 percent of Ontarians who gamble have increased their gambling activity since 2020.
- Gambling is strongly associated with increased tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and the use of other substances.
CMHA Ontario’s submission to the AGCO constraints to the Registrar’s Standards in promoting gambling to youth, including limiting iGaming advertising to hours when children are less likely to be exposed, requiring responsible gambling messages to be prominently displayed in promotional material and other advertising media, and ensuring that marketing and communications highlight the harms of problem gambling, including its addictive nature.
CMHA Ontario also emphasizes that the risk of gambling-related harms extends beyond young people. They state that over 300,000 Canadians are at risk of such harm. According to the CMHA Ontario, the main reasons for overall gambling consumption among gamblers are advertising and promotion of iGaming. Older adults, people with low income, individuals facing mental health issues, and those with substance use dependencies are particularly at increased risk of harm from gambling.
Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario, appreciates the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for acknowledging the emerging risks of promoting gambling to underage and vulnerable individuals. Quenneville mentions that many CMHA branches offer problem gambling support and have observed an increase in clients raising concerns about celebrity endorsements for iGaming. Gambling-related harms, such as financial loss, mental health issues, substance use, and suicide ideation, can have devastating and long-lasting impacts on individuals and their families.
CMHA Ontario also advises the commission to consider a public health approach to regulating iGaming. They highlight that iGaming provides multiple platforms for gambling, which reduces the effectiveness of limit-setting features and promotes continuous gambling. Quenneville emphasizes the importance of not depicting online gambling as a risk-free recreational activity and suggests providing local services and resources to support individuals at risk of harmful gambling.