Survey: Nearly 60% of Canadians Want Immediate Ban on Sports Betting Commercials

Maru Public Opinion survey finds 7 in 10 Canadians want current team players and celebrities banned from sports betting ads.

Mar 29, 2024 • 08:01 ET • 4 min read
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A new Maru Public Opinion survey found that 59% of Canadians believe a nationwide ban on sports betting commercials needs to be implemented right away, while 66% say sports betting commercials should not be allowed during live sporting events. 

This survey also found that seven in 10 Canadians want current team players and celebrities banned from sports betting ads. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) just recently prohibited online sports betting sites in Ontario from using athletes and celebrities in their advertisements.

Here are some other key findings from the study:

  • 72% of respondents believe that many young adults will go deep into debt because of irresponsible use of online sports betting sites
  • 62% believe operators are not acting responsibly with their ads and marketing
  • 53% want more government oversight and regulation governing sports betting advertising than there is now 


Sample and data collection experts Maru/Blue conducted the study on Feb. 7 and 8 with a random selection of 1,534 Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. 

The results have been weighted by education, age, gender, and region to match the population according to Census data which ensures the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

The 55+ demographic had the highest proportion of most of these statistics. Results showed 64% of that age bracket supported an immediate nationwide ban on sports betting commercials, 80% fear that many young adults will go deep into debt from online sports betting, and 76% believe sports betting owners are not acting responsibly with their marketing. 

Conversely, those most likely to oppose all of these perspectives are middle-aged or younger (<35-54), so it seems there is some generational divide in the data. 

Tweaking the narrative

With Ontario’s new regulations introduced last month, one operator is spinning its strategy for how it engages professional athletes to amplify its message.

BetMGM and brand ambassador Connor McDavid released a new responsible gambling advertisement via the All-Star’s social media channels earlier in March as a promotion for Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the responsible gambling tools built into BetMGM’s online sportsbook. 

There are actionable pieces of data for operators to extract from this new survey though that could perhaps help them better position their messaging, using BetMGM’s latest with McDavid as a good example. 

According to the survey, one in six Canadiens reportedly have wagered money on an online betting platform for a professional sporting event, and nearly one-quarter of respondents said that the availability of sports betting makes them want to watch sports more often.

The desire for a legal, regulated sports betting market is there, but so is the need for a responsible approach to advertising that market. Finding a way to strike the balance between proliferating the market rapidly yet responsibly will be a challenge that we’ll continue to watch as the industry continues to expand. 

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