Monday, August 22, 2005

Online Casino Advertising Faces Ban in Canada

Up until now online casino advertising, especially for some of the popular internet poker rooms, was legal in Canada.

Theses online casinos featured ads on Canadian television without any problems. But now pressure is mounting and there is a campaign in Canada that is pushing for the full ban of online casino advertising on television. This falls in line with a broader tightening of online and offline gambling in Canada. Despite the fact that online casino advertising is not allowed in Canada, some online casinos have managed to find a loophole in the system and continue to publicize their online services via Canadian television.

What you have is a surge in popularity of poker programming on television. Popular poker tournaments are broadcast and of course poker online casinos see this as the perfect arena for their advertising in order to reach their target market. "With poker's recent surge in popularity, sports channels are filling their broadcast schedules with Texas Hold 'Em tournaments, and poker websites are eager to advertise” says Rick Broadhead an internet consultant based out of Toronto, Canada.The loophole is that since the poker online casino often features free gaming in “free play mode” they can advertise on television as essentially an online gaming service, not necessarily used for gambling purposes.

"The Criminal Code makes it illegal to advertise Internet gambling in Canada, but many broadcasters welcome advertising from 'play money' versions of popular casinos like Party Poker, Tiger Gaming and Poker Stars” Broadhead continued. With mounting pressure on the television regulatory board to ban all online casino related material from Canadian airwaves, the policy may take effect in the near future.

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