P.K. Subban's father wants sports gambling ads banned in Canada

May 11 2023, 8:00 pm

You don’t have to look far to see how much sports betting is on the rise in Canada.

These days, it feels like every third commercial on television — especially when a game is on — is from one of the many online gambling platforms available. And the recent legalization of single-game sports betting has only exacerbated the problem.

In fact, some of Canada’s most celebrated athletes are front and centre in these ads. Whether it be Georges St-Pierre for Bet99.net or Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid for BetMGM, there’s no way for sports fans to escape it.

In a recent interview with Tyler Cheese of CBC News, Karl Subban, father of former NHLer P.K. Subban, took a firm stance against the promotion of sports gambling during hockey broadcasts.

Subban, a former school principal, recently joined forces with the Ban Ads For Gambling campaign.

“It’s a big problem. Gambling is very addictive,” he said. “A lot of the marketing is focusing on grabbing the attention of the most vulnerable, the youngest of our population.”

As a father of five, Subban is most concerned about the impact these advertisements have on the next generation.

“They catch the attention of young people,” Subban said. “It’s a powerful way of marketing to them, which we know can have a harmful effect on young people realizing their potential and really reaching their dreams.”

According to CBC News, almost eight and a half minutes of sports gambling advertising was broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada during Game 1 of the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.

The Ban Ads for Gambling campaign hopes to see new advertising restrictions similar to that of cannabis and alcohol. The following statement was published on the group’s official website:

“The Campaign to Ban Advertising for Gambling wishes to prohibit advertising of these gambling activities. We do not expect to stop gambling itself. We wish to see the same kinds of controls on advertising for gambling that is in place for tobacco and cannabis, since gambling, too, can become a dangerous addictive problem.”

Subban and the campaign are not alone in their sentiments. A January poll from Ipsos found that nearly half of Canadians (48%) say they agree (17% strongly; 31% somewhat) that the amount of online gambling ads is excessive and needs to be cut back.

According to a Statistics Canada study of gambling behaviour released last year, over 300,000 Canadians are at “severe” or “moderate risk” for gambling-related issues.

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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