Internet InfoMedia a call to end gambling ads as athletes and celebrities are shut out of them

A group wants the federal government to mirror its blanket restrictions on tobacco ads, citing addiction and its effect on sports.

With the hockey season winding down, many Canadians have two things on their minds: their teams’ playoff chances and a barrage of television ads for online sports gambling.

An ad for BetMGM on a blue screen featuring Wayne Gretzky. Two people walk by as a third person stands turned away.
A gambling ad in New York featuring Wayne GretzkyBruce Bennett/Getty Images

The deluge of commercials is a creation of Ontario. Canada’s most populous province decided to go with a competitive marketplace just under two years ago, after the federal government opened up sports betting. As of Friday, 79 online gambling sites, not all of them based on sports, are legally permitted to relieve Ontarians of their money. In other provinces, sports betting is part of the provincial lottery system.

Just over a week ago, Ontario put in effect new rules that bar online gambling ads that feature athletes and celebrities, including the hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as well as Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, the current N.H.L. stars.

But a group that includes some prominent members of Canada’s sports community now wants the federal government to step in and go much further by banning all gambling advertising. The demand is modeled after the severe restrictions on cigarette advertising in Canada, which studies have shown to be an effective tool for reducing smoking.

The group is part of a growing backlash against online sports betting that my colleagues Eric Lipton and Kevin Draper have recently written about. And Jenny Vrentas, another colleague, has reported on the push and pull online gambling has brought to the N.F.L.

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