Auston Matthews among those on the cusp of losing a major endorsement deal?

Mike Armenti
August 30, 2023  (10:52)

A huge part of the allure of playing in a market like Toronto is that it opens the door for additional revenue streams outside of hockey in the form of endorsement deals. Unfortunately for current and future members of the team, one of those endorsement opportunities will be drying up in Ontario come February.

TSN's Rick Westhead has reported that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has initiated a ban on athletes appearing in commercials for online gambling platforms as a way of protecting minors and limiting the spread of influential advertising to youth.
Obviously, there are implications for Auston Matthews here, as Matthews has appeared in commercials for popular sportsbook Bet99. There are other Ontario-born athletes who are also impacted, as both Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky have deals with rival sportsbook BetMGM Sports.
The AGCO had the following to say in their official statement:
"The amended standards will prohibit registered Ontario igaming operators from using athletes, whether active or retired... except for the exclusive purpose of advocating for responsible gambling practices. These amended standards also restrict the use of celebrities, role models, social media influencers, entertainers, cartoon figures, and symbols that 'would likely be expected to appeal to minors'. This broadens and strengthens the existing standard that, prior to this change, prohibited the use of advertising and marketing content with a 'primary appeal to minors'."

It's unclear, at this point, what this means for these types of endorsements moving forward. Obviously, if Ontario is taking this approach, we could see other provinces follow suit, as this will certainly set a precedent. For Matthews, Gretzky and McDavid, does this mean that their current endorsement deals will go away? Will these ads still be airable in other markets? I'm sure that these questions will be answered before too long, but I wouldn't be surprised if the end result of this is that these players, other athletes and celebrities will simply turn to another market and sign new endorsement deals for a different type of product or service to offset any potential losses they may suffer as a result.
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Auston Matthews among those on the cusp of losing a major endorsement deal?

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