Google Updated Advertising Policy, Included Ontario Operators

Internet technology giant Google announced an update to its advertising policy to include ads from regulated sports betting operators in Ontario ahead of the market launch on April 4.

Support for the Regulated Market

According to the latest update, the global search engine will now accept advertisements from the government-run lottery operators, as well as entities licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

To qualify for Google ads, sports betting operators in Ontario must first get certified by the internet technology giant in a process that will require them to present their gambling licenses. iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of AGCO, manages licensing and internet gaming provided by private gaming companies.

The update of Google’s advertising policy comes in time for the formal launch of the sports betting market in the Canadian province in which 16 firms that already obtained their sports betting licenses eagerly await to go live with operations.

To date, the regulatory body in the Canadian province granted sports betting licenses to some of the biggest sportsbooks south of the border, including PointsBet, theScore, 888, bet365, FanDuel, and BetMGM, which recently became the 16th licensed sports betting operator.

The new rules will provide regulated operators with the edge over the black market as Google prohibits advertisements from grey-market firms to limit their impact on the regulated market by stealing market share.

Inducement Ads Forbidden

Regulated operators will have to follow advertising rules from the AGCO which prohibits them from advertising inducements, bonuses, or credits to players. In terms of responsible gambling, operators will have to provide players with self-exclusion tools and facilities accessible via their respective websites.

Regarding operators which have not applied for a license by the April 4 deadline and continue to operate in the unregulated market, AGCO will show zero tolerance. In line with this policy and as part of the licensing conditions, every prospective licensee was ordered by the regulator to end association with companies that may operate in the grey-market sector.

“Those who have not applied by April 4 and who continue to operate in the unregulated market, or do business with those who do, risk not having their application for registration approved.”

Tom Mungham, CEO, AGCO

Mungham was also adamant the regulator would not be shy of using the whole arsenal of enforcement measures at its disposal, including financial sanctions and rejection of applications.

“As part of this transition, the AGCO is committed to taking strong action to address any remaining unregulated Ontario market activity in partnership with law enforcement,” he concluded.

It is not clear whether the AGCO will be this strict to Sports Interaction, the sports betting brand operated by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and regulated by the Kahnawàke Gaming Commission since 1999 as the tribe has no intention of either ceasing operations or applying for an AGCO license.