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Google allows certain online gambling ads in Ontario

| By Robert Fletcher
Google has adjusted its advertising rules in Canada to allow operators that hold a provincial licence to serve online gambling adverts on its platform.

The policy change will now allow operators to run adverts related to online sports betting, online casino and daily fantasy sports.

However, operators are required to first secure a provincial online gambling licence to be able to legally place these ads. Ontario will be the only Canadian province where these forms of online gambling are permitted for licensed operators.

Operators can apply to Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario for a licence and, should they secure a permit, they would then need to apply for and secure a Google Certificate in order to place the ads.

Ontario’s legal online gambling market is scheduled to launch next week on 4 April, with a number of operators – such as Bet365, Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel, Unibet, BetMGMPointsBet and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation – having secured licences ahead of the opening.

Other named licensees include LeoVegasRush Street InteractiveRivalrytheScoreBet888, Coolbear and Fitzdares. Annexio Limited will operate as Lottogo while NSUS Limited will be active under the WSOP brand.

In addition, supplier licences have been issued to Inspired EntertainmentPlay’n GoKambi and High 5 Games.

The provincial government first revealed plans to scrap the lottery’s online gambling monopoly nearly three years ago, and legislation to pave the way for a licensing regime was introduced in 2020. 

The province published its final standards for online betting and gaming in September 2021, but some legal experts have expressed doubts about whether the provincial government’s approach conflicts with the Criminal Code of Canada.

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