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QUESTION PERIOD — Ministry of Canadian Heritage

Advertising for Sports Betting

December 6, 2023

Hello, minister, and thank you for being here this afternoon.

Since single sport betting was legalized a few years ago, Canadians of all ages across the country have been bombarded with ads for placing bets. While this is a newer industry in Canada, we have seen other countries begin to heavily regulate these ads because of the harms they have caused over time. My bill, Bill S-269, would require the government to work with provinces and stakeholders to implement nationwide guidelines that would protect vulnerable Canadians from the harms this onslaught of advertising causes; however, the government could do this of their own accord at any time. We have national standards for the advertising of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. Speaking as the minister responsible for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, will the government consider regulating gambling ads nationally as well?

Hon. Pascale St-Onge, P.C., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage [ + ]

Thank you for your question. You’re correct, the issue you’re raising is one we need to think about and move forward on. It is very worrying to see how people of all ages are bombarded with ads when they want to watch sporting events, whether on television or on digital platforms. It is an issue we really need to think about as a society.

You’re also right that other areas of advertising are more regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission or CRTC, which is an organization that can take regulatory action.

I would be very happy to continue to discuss this issue with you and look at your important bill.

Thank you. We appreciate that Ontario has announced a plan within their own province, but research shows us that that’s just the beginning. It’s not quite enough.

This has a tremendous national reach for ads. The effectiveness of provincial and territorial regulations are only as good as the lowest standard set. I’m very hopeful that gambling and the harms of gambling meet the same thresholds as other vice industries like alcohol and tobacco. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Are you able to comment?

Ms. St-Onge [ + ]

I think that’s a symptom of the profound societal changes brought on by the advent of digital platforms and the new forms of advertising that you mentioned. That’s why our government has worked very hard to start modernizing the legislative and regulatory framework for what is happening online. That is another thing we need to think about.

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