Marketing and Affiliate Guidelines for Ontario

Version 1.2 – October 2022


Marketing activity in Ontario is subject to a comprehensive regulatory regime and therefore must always be carried out in a manner that is compliant and socially responsible. The Marketing and Affiliate Compliance Department is primarily responsible for the ongoing approval of advertising material, the issuance of network-wide guidance and the provision of further support to all network licensees with respect to any promotional activity, both organic (i.e. issued directly by the licensee on its brands’ platforms) or affiliate-related (i.e. issued by a third party with which the licensee has a direct relationship and which authorises it to publish advertising material on such licensee’s behalf).


  • All marketing activity (organic/affiliate) must be submitted for review and pre-approval by the Marketing and Affiliate Compliance Department. 
  • French content is subject to the same rules as English content. 
  • No SEO/PPC advertising or other external marketing (outside casino site) may promote any offers, inducements, bonuses or credits. 
  • Benefits may be described as “free” only when there are no requirements or restrictions attached. 
  • Marketing material must only be submitted to opted in players, and on the basis of specific consent. 
  • Social media pages/ads must be pre-approved. 
  • Significant terms are required at all times, with a link to full terms no more than one click away. 
  • Full terms must be comprehensive, accurate, and transparent. 
  • iGO logo must be included at all times, together with RG message (inclusive of URL and phone number of ConnexOntario), and mention of minimum age (19+). 
  • All Ontario-facing affiliates must be verified and approved before becoming operational. 
  • Affiliates must not promote non-AGCO licensed brands whilst engaging in a marketing relationship with a licensee. 
  • Affiliates may not promote any promotions, bonuses or schemes. 

Organic advertising approvals process 

As a rule, any organic advertising activity must be submitted for review and pre-approval by the Marketing and Affiliate Compliance Department. This includes any promotional content (e.g., ad copies, banners, and other promotional assets) as well as the relevant terms and conditions concerning a specific campaign. Such requests must also specify the intended audience and platform/s on which the promotion will be carried out. The Marketing and Affiliate Compliance Department may request changes and amendments as deemed necessary for the purpose of complying with applicable laws and regulations and will thereafter issue a unique approval code for each request, signifying clearance for publication. 

Specific guidelines apply to the launch of new brands, changes in Welcome Offers, and advertising on specific platforms (e.g., Track and Trigger and XtremePush, as well as social media). Licensees are instructed to refer to the respective documents for further information. 

Content in French 

Any marketing content issued in the French language is subject to the same rules as applicable to content in English. It is the responsibility of the licensees to ensure that any French language content is accurately and fully reflective of its English counterpart. The regulator will be assessing both English and French language content independently, and therefore strict adherence to this rule is fundamental. 

External advertising 

Ontario rules clearly establish that no marketing of inducements, bonuses and credits can take place outside of the operators’ own sites. This limitation extends to organically generated advertising, meaning that external forms of marketing such as the use of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) bidding to promote specific offers is strictly prohibited. Any such advertising must not feature any detailed reference to or specific mention of the welcome bonus offer, loyalty schemes, retention campaigns, VIP program or other similar promotions, even if located onsite. SEO and PPC activity must be solely restricted to the generic promotion of the casino and its game offerings. Additionally, media buying and other similar activities are equally covered by the same rules. 

Dos and Donts in Marketing: 

You must ensure that any advert, marketing, promotional material or communication does not:

  • Display, suggest, create or encourage socially irresponsible, emotional, financial, antisocial, seductive, strength/ resilience, transformative or criminal behaviour(s). Examples include (but are not limited to): o Gambling as a way of overcoming debt-related problems or traditional employment. 
  • Gambling transforming somebody’s life (or an aspect of their life). 
  • Linking gambling with other habits and addictions such as alcohol and/or drugs. 
  • Suggesting that gambling can enhance personal qualities, such as self-image. 
  • Suggesting that one’s chances of winning are correlated in any way to the duration of gambling activity and/or amount of spend. 
  • Gambling privately and losing track of time and knowledge of those around you. 
  • Gambling taking priority in somebody’s life (against family and friends, for example). 
  • Providing an escape from personal, professional or educational problems. 
  • Exploiting religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs, including those associated with luck. 
  • Promoting peer pressure or the “fear of missing out”. You must not imply any sort of urgency in your Communications. 
  • Exploiting those who are vulnerable to gambling. 
  • Suggesting, containing or in any other way showing generally unacceptable or offensive behaviour. 
  • Communications that make a consumer play or take part of an offer for a certain period of time or value before qualifying for a player reward scheme. 
  • Suggesting that gambling is related to a level of skill when games (or otherwise) are purely based on chance. 

Exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience, or lack of knowledge of minors, and to be directed at, or of likely appeal to minors. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Using cartoons, celebrities, characters or themed associated with minors and younger generations (under 19s). It is considered best practice to not make use of actors and personalities under the age of 25.
  • Adverts that show young, juvenile, or immature behaviour. 
  • Placement of ads on platforms that have are directed primarily to minors, or where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be minors. 

Display, link or encourage gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • The use of an attractive model to show the success of gambling. 
  • The portrayal of gambling in the context of sexual bravado or the use of overly sexualised scenarios. 
  • Adverts that show young, juvenile, or immature behaviour. 
  • Placement of ads on platforms that have are directed primarily to minors, or where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be minors. 
  • The portrayal of gambling in the context of sexual bravado or the use of overly sexualised scenarios. 

Mislead. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Failing to display terms and conditions clearly or illegibly. 
  • Omitting important terms and conditions to the detriment of the consumer. 
  • Distorting information in order to cloud its true effect (particularly around “Free” promotions- see below). 
  • Implying or suggesting a sense of urgency where there isn’t one. 
  • Advertising a Communication as “exclusive” when it isn’t. 
  • Implying that expressions of opinion are objective claims. 
  • Making comparative statements vis-à-vis competitors or the broader market without basis of objective data (which must be included within the marketing communication). 

“Free” and “Bonus”: 

The WHG requirements for Ontario are as follows: 

  • “Free” can only be used when players are provided with genuinely free cash funds or spins. It cannot be tied to a deposit, and any winnings from the free bonus must be credited in cash and can be immediately withdrawn by the player. There cannot be any restrictions both in relation to a player’s ability to benefit from an offer or otherwise participate, as well as the use of the benefits derived from such an offer. 
  • “Bonus” is for spins or funds that have conditions attached (e.g., they are deposit-based, or have wagering requirements etc.) 

Data Compliance in Marketing: 

Communications must only be sent to players who have opted-in expressly to receiving promotions via the channel being employed. Only XtremePush and Track and Trigger communications operate outside the parameters of the standard communication preferences available to players (Web Push communications are consented to via the user’s web browser and XtremePush onsite pop-ups and account inbox messages fall outside opt-in parameters due to their nature as “in-built” features of the respective sites). This rule does not apply to transactional emails, which are only to be submitted following review and approval from the Data Compliance as well as the Marketing Approvals and Affiliate Compliance teams.

Similarly, cross-marketing activity must be only directed towards players who have specifically opted into such form of communications, as well as the relevant opt-in for the particular communication channel. Any cross-marketing proposals are to be reviewed and approved by the Data Compliance and Marketing and Affiliate Compliance teams. 

In an email or other form of Communication, the commercial intent must be made clear and obvious to the recipient. The standard email footer must not be amended in any way. The Subject line must be clear and not misleading (e.g., giving the impression that a communication is not of a promotional nature), and the content itself must comply with these Guidelines. 

All Communications (except transactional) must include clear instructions and/or a link enabling the customer to opt-out from receiving further promotional messages, with no exception. 

Social Media Communications: 

Operators must ensure that all paid/sponsored social media ads for the Ontario market only be targeted at users of 19 years of age and over. Furthermore, organic content posted on owned social media channels must similarly be restricted to 19+ users. 

Where social media platforms allow for geotargeting on a provincial level, this must be implemented. In any case, the above requirements must be met, even if provincial geotargeting cannot be deployed. 

Operators shall indicate their association with iGO on all owned social media accounts in the masthead of their landing page on the social media platform (e.g., Facebook cover image), by means of the inclusion of the IGO logo (where space permits) or, at a minimum, the following statement: [BRAND] operates pursuant to an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario. 

Social media communication is not accepted in any form unless the Marketing Approvals Department provides specific approval. For the avoidance of doubt, both the creation of social media profiles/pages and any content posted thereon which is aimed towards an Ontario audience must be subject to pre-approval. Licensees are to be guided by the specific Social Media Guidelines when planning any social media activity. 

Significant and Promotional Terms 

Significant terms are the material conditions and limitations relating to an offer or promotion that should enable a consumer to get a full idea of the principal benefits and limitations/restrictions of an offer, without having to trawl through further lengthy terms. Onsite banners must feature Significant Terms if a promotion is being specifically advertised. In this section, the term “specific advertisement” refers to instances where the principal benefit/s of a promotion are presented. 

Significant Terms must be placed as close to the corresponding specific advertisement as possible, and preferably in such a manner as to be visible simultaneously with the advert. Therefore, for example, in the case of onsite banners, Significant Terms must be displayed directly underneath or over them. 

In any case, Significant Terms are to include a live link to a compliant landing page wherein the full terms and conditions of the particular offer are presented, no more than one click away. 

Specific Promotional Terms and Conditions should not be confused with the General Website Terms and Conditions, and the General Promotional terms. These are available on the casino website and are completely standard in nature across all brands managed and operated by WHG. No changes should be made to these two sets of standard Terms at any point without the express consent of the Legal Department. 

Detailed advice concerning the content of Promotional Terms and Conditions can be found in specific Guidelines. 

Inclusion of iGO logo 

The iGO logo must be included in website footers, as well as all visual media advertising materials produced for the Ontario market, including, but not limited to: 

• Television (including on-demand) 

• Digital & Social Media 

• Print 

In media that utilizes video, animation and/or rotating static images (e.g., GIFs), the iGO Logo may be inserted within a section of one of these display elements. The iGO Logo must appear such that it is clearly integrated into a minimum of 5% of the total creative. 

Additionally, all content (including affiliate material) must include a reference to the minimum age requirement for gambling within Ontario (19+), along with a safer gambling message, reference to the ConnexOntario website and the service’s phone/SMS numbers. PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL – VERSION 1.2 – OCTOBER 2022 

Affiliate Advertising Activity 

Any affiliate advertising activity directed at or otherwise comprising (in full or in part) of an Ontario audience must be submitted for review and pre-approval. 

No third parties may engage in any advertising activity within Ontario on behalf of any licensed brand without first being verified and approved by the Marketing and Affiliate Compliance Department. 

Any third-party affiliates who wish to specifically engage in advertising for any TWHG brands directed at an Ontario audience must declare and confirm at the onboarding stage that they shall not, at the same time, engage in advertising of any brands that do not hold an active AGCO licence. For the avoidance of doubt, we reserve the right to terminate any affiliate relationship with immediate effect should such affiliate be in breach of this requirement. 

Affiliates may not promote any inducements, bonuses, and credits (including welcome offers). Advertising promotional offers to existing players must be exclusively submitted on the basis of their explicit consent. Therefore, broad targeting of existing players is not permitted. 

Key Requirements for Affiliates 

Do not create or amend any creative media supplied to you unless you have received our prior written consent to do so. Any amendments to our creative media or creation thereof would be in breach of your Affiliate Agreement with us. This includes promotional banners, images, or other assets. This is to ensure that your communication(s) are always legally compliant. If you wish to use text or other material that is not supplied by us to describe, advertise, or promote any of our brands, games, or services, then you must obtain our written approval prior to publication. Similarly, you must not repurpose any material aimed at non-Ontario jurisdictions for an Ontario audience. 

Do not change landing pages. Any changes to these links will result in the communication itself no longer being valid or compliant. The links must not be changed, and customers must not be taken to alternative pages. If you are unsure about which landing page to use, please: a) contact us; and b) do not enable the promotional material to go live until we have confirmed/approved the landing page. 

You must ensure that you keep an accurate record of websites, media accounts, channels, and other platforms on which you are displaying communications. We will require continued access to review such records to ensure that we can satisfy our regulatory obligations. You can therefore only display communications via platforms which you would have disclosed to us and which we would have not rejected. Any changes to such arrangements must be sent to us for review and approval prior to being implemented.

Any communications must not be displayed, target, or be appealing to minors and vulnerable audiences. This includes the form and content of your Communication, such as including child-like imagery, bright colours, or choice of wording. 

Advertising promotional offers on affiliate platforms is strictly disallowed. This means that no mention of the welcome bonus offer, loyalty/VIP schemes, retention campaigns and other similar perks and benefits available to players on affiliate websites, emails, and other media may be made. CTA buttons leading to a landing page hosted on the casino itself must be generic and similarly not make any mention of offers and promotions. Affiliates may not promote any specific offers and/or referral codes in relation to brands being advertised. 

  • Given the numerous changes required by the CMA, we request that if you are not targeting the UK market to please ensure that all offers and promotions, when displaying a currency, are not GBP/£. Please use Euros, Dollars and/or other currencies, as required. Different Marketing Guidelines apply should you wish to promote our brand(s) in other jurisdictions other than the UK. Should you be interested, please get in touch.
  • However, if it is your desire to target the UK market, where your offer/promotion does contain GBP/£, this offer MUST be either:
    a) taken from the creatives now available in [Netrefer] for you. These creatives, with GBP/£, have been specifically amended and created to comply with the new UK regulations; or
    b) approved by affiliate compliance.

Should you display any other offer or promotion with GBP/£ that has not been approved, we will be left with no option but to terminate our agreement with you given the level of importance placed on this by the Gambling Commission, ASA and CMA.

  • All promotions related to our brand(s) should be socially responsible.
  • As an affiliate, you must not be using the Covid-19 pandemic in any way to promote our brands and/or to drive traffic to your promotional sources. We take a zero tolerance approach. We have changed our terms and conditions on all of our websites.
  • As credit cards are no longer accepted in the UK, you must ensure that any and all references to credit cards are removed from your promotional sources that promote our brand(s).
  • We have added extra details and information in relation to social media usage by our affiliates. Should you wish to promote our brand(s) via recorded videos, kindly get in touch to acquire the relevant Guidelines.

Please remember that in these Guidelines, reference to “Communication(s)” is to any and all marketing, promotional, advertising or other similar material of yours used to encourage consumers to sign-up to one or more of our participating gambling websites as partnered with you.

All of our affiliates agree and are required to promote our brands in a socially responsible manner, in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, codes of practice and guidelines to ensure that any advertising of our brands and games, and associated promotions is clear, transparent and not misleading.

It is imperative that you read these Guidelines carefully and in full. As an affiliate, we rely on you to exercise the correct level of control over your marketing Communications. Whilst we appreciate that you are an integral aspect of our business, this needs to be balanced with the heavy regulation being applied to operators. We aim to ensure that our business and partnership with you develops sustainably into the future. However, this will only be as a result of your compliance and continuous assistance in ensuring that all Communications are in accordance with the law. Unless this happens, we will not be able to commit to you as an affiliate, nor support our affiliates program in the long run.

We firmly believe that, together, we can maintain and continue to grow our relationship with you.

Should you have any queries, then please feel free to contact us.

Thank you for your continued support and assistance.

Key Requirements

  1. Do not create your own, or amend in any way whatsoever, creative media supplied to you unless you have received our prior written consent to do so. Any amendments to our creative media is in breach of your Affiliate Agreement with us. You must not create your own promotional banners, images or otherwise unless you receive our prior written consent. This is to ensure that we can safeguard everybody’s interests with your Communication(s) being legally compliant. If you wish to use text or other materials that are not supplied to describe, advertise or promote our brands and games or any of its offers or services then you must obtain our written approval prior to any publication of it.
  2. Do not change promotional landing pages (or otherwise). The landing pages are absolutely crucial to legal compliance given that they contain the full terms and conditions applicable to your Communication. Any changes to these links will result in the Communication itself no longer being valid or compliant. The links must not be changed, and customers must not be taken to alternative pages. If you are unsure about which landing page to use, please: a) contact us; and b) do not enable the offer to be live until we have confirmed/approved the landing page destination.
  3. Do not display or place digital adverts on copyright infringing websites, such as movie streaming or piracy websites. These are websites that contain illegal content, such as a Torrent Download webpage, or those that enable you to illegally stream ‘Live TV’ or movies, such as Putlockers.
  4. Do not display, direct or place Communications anywhere there is gambling advice or corrective behavioural content.
  5. Do not spam recipients or send unsolicited emails (or otherwise). You must prove where you have received express consent from your intended recipients, mailing list etc. If you don’t have this consent, then immediately remove the recipients from your database. Upon our request, you must be able to substantiate how your database of email recipients has been obtained, in addition to your general obligations pursuant to applicable laws relating to data privacy, security etc
  6. You must ensure that you keep an accurate record of the websites, media accounts, channels and otherwise as to where you are sending, displaying or advertising Communications. We will require continued access to review such records to ensure that we can satisfy ourselves of our Regulatory obligations. You therefore can only use Communications in places and channels you have disclosed to us and we have not rejected. Any changes must be sent by way of email to us. At any point, you must be able to disclose to us a complete list of URLs upon our request as to where you display and promote our Communications. If you can’t do this, then we shall be left with no option but to terminate our agreement with you.
  7. Any and all Communications must not be displayed, targeted or appealing to those under the age of 18. This includes the form and content of your Communication, such as including child-like imagery, colours or choice of wording. This also applies to any form and content of your website or online presence.

Information Communications and Data

Any data that you hold relating to an individual must have been collected, processed and stored in accordance with the law. You should keep clear explicit records of what a person has consented to, and when and how you got this consent, so that you can demonstrate compliance in the possible event of a complaint. We reserve the right to view such records to satisfy ourselves of your compliance.

If you send an email or other form of Communication, you must ensure that the commercial intent is made clear and obvious to the recipient, together with your true and real identity. In addition, any Communication that you send out must include a link to “opting out”, “unsubscribe” or similar- and you are obliged to honour the same. You must not make this opting-out process be difficult, at cost, or otherwise.

Additionally, any email should make clear reference to you in the “From” box. In other words, there should be no confusion as to the true identity of the sender of the email. The Subject must refer to the Email Content, and not be misleading. It should not be written in a form of “click-bait”.

Remember, you must only use creative media only that we supply for email campaigns and they must not be altered whatsoever unless you have received our prior written consent to do so.

We do not allow our affiliates to send out their own email marketing campaigns. If you would like to do so, then you MUST obtain our prior written consent of approval to do this.

This does not include any email campaigns if they do not promote, mention or reference, directly or indirectly, any of our brands.

Social Media

If you choose to use Social Media for your Communications, you must:

  1. Clearly show the ‘Over 18’ logo in all Communications and on your Account Profile itself; and
  2. Include wording around BeGambleAware on your social media accounts, such as “Gamble responsibly.”.
  3. Include a link where further gambling guidance and advice can be found, such as “Further details on responsible gambling can be found at”; and
  4. Be able to show and prove that your Communications are targeted and displayed to those above the age of 18. For example, with Twitter, you must use their age-screening function when marketing Communications to consumers, or ‘checking’ the age restriction option when uploading content to YouTube. Similar options apply to other social media platforms; and
  5. Be careful around the choice of images and words that you may use in any nonpromotional material that is submitted from your social media account. For example, a “Facebook Post” that is not intended as an advertisement but relates to gambling.

Please ensure that you read, review and satisfy yourselves of the policies of the respective social media company. For example, Facebook requires real-money gambling-related Ads to be preapproved before release. The above applies to YouTube channels and any other form of online or social sharing.

We now request that you do not use social media to promote any of our brands. In other words, we only accept affiliates who use social media for generic purposes and/or for generating traffic to their own websites in accordance with all applicable laws. You must not, at any point whatsoever, publish anything on social media that promotes, mentions or references, directly or indirectly, any of our brands unless we have specifically given our prior written approval to do so.

In addition, before using Social Media, you must disclose to us, in writing, as to which platforms you are using, and a link to your profiles. This applies to any platforms that you might choose to use in the future as well. Failure to inform us of these details now, or as they change, will lead to immediate termination of your Agreement. We require these details to continually review and monitor your Communications via Social Media.

Critical Points and Tips:

  • If in any doubt, ask. We have a dedicated affiliate compliance team who will be happy to answer or resolve any Communication queries that you may have.
  • Do not change any creative media or create your own campaigns (or similar) without our prior written consent.
  • Only use creatives that are now available in [Netrefer]. These have been amended to specifically comply with the new UK regulations as a result of the CMA investigation.
  • Use social media for generally promoting and/or engaging with your customers via your own company, brand, website or otherwise. In other words, not promoting any of our Communications whatsoever unless we have given our express prior written consent.
  • Use your best endeavours to ensure that only those above the age of 18 can view your Communications, such as via age-targeting on Social Media or by ensuring that the form and content of your Communications has a more mature appeal. If you are unsure, then do not include it, or request our prior written consent before publication.
  • Test the click-through on any Communication to ensure that it places the consumer on the correct landing page, which includes all details of the offer, including full terms and conditions. If you are unsure, then do not publish the Communication and please contact us.
  • Always give an option to opt-out from any form of Communications and ensure that this is a simple, easy process for the recipient to follow. You must honour these requests, not delay in the unsubscribing process, and no longer send any Communications to that individual.
  • If your Communications refer, review or compare a competitor or other brand, ensure that you can verify and validate any claim you make, or make clear that any content is a matter of opinion only, or otherwise simply request our written consent to such content.
  • Keep a close eye on any updates that we (or others) provide in relation to affiliate compliance. The law and applicable regulations are moving and changing continuously, and we encourage you to stay updated on any and all changes that are made as a result of regulatory decisions or guidance notes.
  • Use your commercial endeavours to retain the best standards on your website. Remember, you must promote socially responsible gambling and must display “Over 18” signage. You must ensure that you are not accepting traffic or otherwise be of appeal to those under the age of 18.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Social Media policies (and any other online policies that apply to your Communications) to ensure that you are fully compliant.