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Toronto District School Board

Ban Ads for Gambling

Categories: Advocacy

March 15, 2024  

I am writing on behalf of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to urge both the Ontario and Federal Governments of Canada to enact legislation prohibiting gambling advertisements, particularly those aimed at and made accessible to children and youth. 

Since the legalization of sports betting in 2021, there has been a noticeable surge in gambling advertising across television, radio, social media, as well as on-site at sporting events, community facilities, and even on players’ uniforms. Recent data from iGaming in Ontario reports a staggering 1.6 million active bettors, a number that warrants serious concern. 

Parents and grandparents tell us that children as young as 5 or 6 who watch sports on television express interest in sports betting. Statistics from the Canadian Community Health Survey indicates that approximately two percent of Canadians aged 15 or older are grappling with gambling problems. The consequences of gambling extend far beyond financial implications, often resulting in profound negative impacts on individuals and their families, including but not limited to runaway debt, familial stress, diminished self-esteem, heightened anxiety, depression, and tragically, instances of suicide. 

Research consistently underscores the correlation between exposure to gambling advertisements, an increase in gambling, and the increased likelihood of developing problematic gambling behaviours, particularly among youth and other vulnerable demographic groups. Implementing restrictions on gambling advertisements has been shown to be an effective strategy in mitigating the associated harms, thereby safeguarding the well-being of our communities. 

As stewards of youth in Toronto, the TDSB is deeply committed to prioritizing and enhancing the mental health and overall welfare of our students. We firmly believe that enacting legislation to prohibit gambling advertising, especially in contexts where children and adolescents are exposed, is an imperative step towards fulfilling this commitment.  

We note that there is ample precedence for the introduction of this type of legislation. For example, government intervention restricting advertising for tobacco and cannabis has been in place for many years now and has proven effective in shielding children from potential harm. A similar approach ought to be adopted for the gaming industry. We urge you to champion this cause and actively support the enactment of legislation that restricts gambling advertising across all media platforms. By doing so, we can collectively contribute to creating a safer and healthier environment for our present and future generations. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to hearing back from you on your leadership and advocacy in addressing this critical issue. 



Rachel Chernos Lin 
Chair, Toronto District School Board