When advertising in Ontario for online gambling operators a lot of various laws and regulations apply. As gambling (also often known as games of chance or Igaming) and advertising for gambling are a sensitive subject because of the nature of gambling and possible chances of developing a gambling addiction, the advertising of gambling is closely monitored and regulated.

In Ontario the main regulatory body responsible for the Ontario gambling market is the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (also known as AGCO). The AGCO’s online gambling regulatory framework aims to achieve the Government of Ontario’s objectives of providing consumer choice, ensuring player protection, and supporting the growth of the legal market. The AGCO performs a number of activities to ensure online gambling in Ontario is conducted with honesty and integrity, among which visiting sites and controlling advertising activities with regards to gambling.

Because of the extensive regulations of advertising for games of chance it is important to clearly know what may and may not be done or shown when advertising for games of chance. In this article the most important points of attention are summarized. Want to know more? Check our Ontario Compliance Code.

The accountability for meeting advertising standards is in general held by online gambling operators themselves. Gambling operators are responsible to ensure that any third parties that they contract, including entities commonly referred to as “marketing affiliates” advertising on the operator’s behalf, also meet the standards and applicable laws and regulations. As such it is also in the interest of the affiliate to adhere to the applicable laws and regulations when advertising online gambling.

Tip 1 for Ontario Online Casino Affiliates: Not advertising illegal gambling

One of the main objectives of the Government of Ontario’s is the support and growth of the legal gambling market. As such it is not allowed to advertise the in Ontario illegal gambling operators, only in Ontario licensed gambling operators may be advertised. The AGCO has often expressed that it is important to only advertise the in Ontario licensed gambling offer to ensure the proper protection of players, furthermore the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming (also known as “Standard”) states in 1.21 that any type of marketing for operators that are not registered with the AGCO is prohibited.

Tip 2 for Ontario Online Casino Affiliates: Responsible advertising

Gambling can pose a risk for certain groups among which minors who are more susceptible to gambling addiction and the possible negative decision making. As such various groups are protected and when advertising gambling affiliates must take the different vulnerable groups into account, and the measures that need to be taken to advertise responsible gambling. That is also why participating in online gambling is only allowed at the age of 19 in Ontario. All advertising and marketing materials must include a responsible gambling message. This does not only include the website but also all the social media channels that the affiliate uses. In Ontario the general responsible gambling message can be a clearly visible 19+ characteristic.

Tip 3 for Ontario Online Casino Affiliates: Careful advertising

When advertising gambling the affiliate must be clear and transparent about the gambling offer, and may never mislead readers with regards to gambling, in accordance with 2.04 of the Standard. Affiliates may never:

  • Contain endorsements by well-known personalities that suggest that gambling has contributed to their success.
  • Encourage playing as a means of recovering past gaming or other financial losses.
  • Be designed so as to make false promises or present winning as the probable outcome.
  • Imply that chances of winning increase:
    • The longer one plays;
    • The more one spends; or
    • Suggest that skill can influence the outcome (for games where skill is not a factor);
  • Portray, suggest, condone or encourage gaming behavior that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.
  • Suggest that gaming can provide an escape from personal or professional problems.
  • Portray gaming as indispensable or as taking priority in life; for example, over family, friends or professional or educational commitments.
  • Suggest that gaming can enhance personal qualities, for example, that it can improve self-image or self-esteem, or is a way to gain control, superiority, recognition or admiration.
  • Suggest peer pressure to gamble nor disparage abstention.
  • Link gaming to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.
  • Portray gaming in a context of toughness or link it to resilience or irresponsible play.
  • Suggest gaming is a rite of passage.
  • Offer a product or promotion that is not reasonably attainable without incurring substantial losses.

Tip 4 for Ontario Online Casino Affiliates: Balanced advertising

All forms of advertisings of gambling must be balanced and may never explicitly target vulnerable groups. Article 2.03 of the Standard specifically states that: “Advertising, marketing materials and communications shall not target high-risk, underage or self-excluded persons to participate in lottery schemes, shall not include underage individuals, and shall not knowingly be communicated or sent to high-risk players”. To adhere to the minimum requirement as set out by the Standard affiliates may never:

  • Be based on themes, or use language, intended to appeal primarily to minors.
  • Use or contain cartoon figures, symbols, role models, social media influencers, celebrities, or entertainers who would likely be expected to appeal to minors.
  • Use active or retired athletes, who have an agreement or arrangement made directly or indirectly between an athlete and an operator or gaming-related supplier, in advertising and marketing except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices.
  • Use individuals who are, or appear to be, minors to promote gaming.
  • Appear in media and venues, including on websites, and in digital or online media, directed primarily to minors, or where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be minors.
  • Exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of all potentially high-risk persons, or otherwise extoll the virtues of gaming.
  • Entice or attract potentially high-risk players. Instead, measures shall be in place to limit marketing communications to all known high-risk players.

Tip 5 for Ontario Online Casino Affiliates: Taking gambling addiction into account

An important part of the Ontario legislation regarding gambling and the advertising off gambling is the protection of vulnerable groups and the prevention of gambling addiction. Responsible affiliates must make information and material (references to third parties) available, visible and accessible to all players, in accordance with 2.08 of the Standard. As such an affiliate must refer on every webpage to a webpage regarding responsible gambling and must extensively inform visitors of the possible risks associated with excessive gambling and responsible gambling behaviour in general.


In conclusion when advertising online gambling as an affiliate, it is important to adhere to the various laws and regulations as an operator can be held responsible for the advertising activities of the affiliate. All advertising for gambling done must be responsible, careful and balanced in which no illegal gambling offer may be advertised, and gambling addiction must be taken into account. This is only an indication of the various applicable conditions when advertising online gambling as an responsible affiliate.

To help with compliance and to responsible advertise online gambling as an affiliate, you can collaborate with QMRA in which a specialized team will audit the website and advertising channels according to the various laws and regulations of Ontario and help with compliance and creating a clear overview of the laws and regulations of Ontario. After the audit the affiliate will receive an overview of the audit result and the applicable legislation. The investment for an audit is low and certainly lower than receiving a fine for crossing an unknown boundary when advertising games of chance.

Stay up-to-date on gambling laws and other interesting information!

At QMRA we inform you as adequately as possible about many aspects of the Ontario and international gambling markets. Did you find this article interesting? Be sure to keep an eye on our other articles about the gambling space! Want to have a quick overview of important points for Ontario affiliates? Check the QMRA Ontario code at the website of QMRA.

About QMRA Europe

Interested in QMRA? Let’s t tell you a little bit about our history first