Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday April 25, 2023
From Sport Hero to Betting Shill
Promoting online sports betting using athletes is irresponsible and harmful. Many popular athletes, such as Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, or Wayne Gretzky, are seen endorsing sports books during NHL playoffs. These companies shamelessly leverage the popularity of athletes and celebrities to promote addictive gambling products. Recently, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) proposed banning athletes from participating in gambling marketing to address the negative impact on young people.
It is concerning that athletes with strong appeal to young audiences, such as McDavid and Matthews, are promoting sports betting. Gambling is recognized as addictive, yet it is advertised more prominently than other addictive products like tobacco or cannabis.
The AGCO’s proposed amendments, which aim to ban the use of celebrities, influencers, and symbols that appeal to minors, are a positive step towards addressing this issue. However, there are still concerns about other forms of advertising, such as jersey patches and broadcast ads, that continue to associate athletes with sports betting.
In response to the growing concerns, a coalition of professional sports leagues has announced plans to develop consumer-protection policies, signalling a broader pushback against sports betting advertising. While the proposed regulations may bring changes to the types of advertisements, it is unlikely to significantly reduce their volume. It is crucial to prioritize consumer protection, especially for vulnerable populations like youth and young adults, and regulate gambling advertising with the same level of scrutiny as other addictive products.
The use of athletes to promote online sports betting is irresponsible and potentially harmful. Athletes should be aware of the negative impact of their endorsement on young audiences. The proposed amendments by the AGCO are a step in the right direction, but more action is needed to prevent athletes from promoting addictive behaviours. It is time to prioritize consumer well-being, particularly for vulnerable populations, and implement stricter regulations on gambling advertising. (AI)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro. If you’re creative, give editorial cartooning a try.