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 Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal in front of a FanDuel logo as we look at Canadians opinions on sportsbook advertising
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks during the 2024 Honda NHL All-Star Game on February 03, 2024. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images via AFP.

With the legalization and mainstreaming of regulated sports betting in North America has come the saturation of ads from providers hoping to gain a more significant chunk of the enormous market share before them. You've probably seen ads from some of our best sports betting sites.

Fans of sports and the general public, both betting and non-betting, have long complained about the prevalence of sportsbook advertising on the airwaves. Now, we are getting receipts about the displeasure over the abundance of such ads. 

A recent Maru Public Opinion survey in Canada showed the extent of peoples' dismay with the sportsbook advertising takeover on TV, radio, and during internet-based broadcasts of their favorite sporting event or related programming.

The overwhelming findings could act as a cautionary tale for sportsbooks worldwide.

Eye-opening findings

The first line in the Maru report says everything you'd want to know about how Canadians feel about the inescapable presence of sportsbook advertising in the marketplace. 

The first line reads, "A Maru Public Opinion survey finds seven in 10 (68%) Canadians want current team players and celebrities banned from sports betting ads, two thirds (66%) say sports betting commercials should not be allowed during live sports games/events, and a majority (59%) believe a nationwide ban on sports betting commercials needs to be implemented right away." 

The poll suggests that the oldest demographic surveyed feels most strongly about the need to at least control the amount of sportsbook advertising currently taking place in the market. Conversely, the youngest demographic surveyed are the most open to sportsbook advertising, although they majority of that age-group have concerns as well.

Of the 55+ age group, 76% want celebrities banned from sportsbook advertising, 72% feel that sports betting ads should not be allowed during broadcasts of sports events, 65% believe a ban on sportsbook advertising should happen immediately, and 87% feel the need to protect youth by banning such ads.

On the flip side, of those surveyed between the ages of 18-34, 61% want celebrities banned from advertising, 64% agree that such advertising should not appear during live events, and 56% think an outright ban on sportsbook advertising is needed.

Other findings

One of the main arguments against a legal sports betting platform has been and will continue to be the dangers of increased debt load for not only youngsters in the market but also more experienced citizens.

The Maru Public Opinion survey deals with that as well. According to its findings:

  • 72% of Canadians fear that many young adults will go deep into debt with online sports betting available
  • A majority (62%) of Canadians believe sports betting owners are not acting responsibly with their ads and marketing.
  • Most (53%) Canadians say sports betting needs more government oversight and regulation than there is now

As for how sports betting advertising affects how Canadians watch sports and their motivations to tune into a broadcasted sporting event, Maru found that:

  • One quarter (24%) of Canadians say the ability to bet on sports makes them want to watch those sports more often
  • One in six (17%) Canadians report having wagered money on an online betting platform for a professional sporting event or game.

How the study was conducted

Maru Public Opinion took data from a survey of 1,534 Canadian adults on February 7-8. All those surveyed were identified as Maru Voice Canada online panelists. 

The results spanned a wide range of demographics in the marketplace, such as education, age, gender, and region. The company did its best to reflect Census data to gain reasonable, sensible, and reflective findings for their report.

The margin of error is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.