Tuesday, October 18, 2011 : Detractors claim that as a role model sportsman Roberto Luongo should not have taken part in BC Lottery internet poker adverts
Vancouver Canucks hockey goalie Roberto Luongo is under fire for appearing in television commercials for the BC Lotteries online poker product, with critics saying that as a top sports role model he should not be endorsing online gambling.
"The ads showcase Luongo playing poker, with the suggestion that if you go online at Playnow.com, you might get to play against the Canucks’ top goaltender," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.
One anti-gambling advocate, psychologist Candace Plattor, told the broadcaster: "He's endorsing something that is potentially dangerous. People don’t take this seriously enough. It is potentially dangerous. He may as well being saying to people, to kids, ‘Sure, go and smoke.’"
Luongo defended the deal, saying: "It's poker, it's one of my passions. It's a great endorsement and this site is licensed by the government and so it's really exciting for me."
The ice hockey star, who has appeared before in televised charity poker games, said he doesn’t get to play as much as he’d like to, given how busy he is during the National Hockey League season.
The BC Lottery Corp. declined to reveal how much it’s paying Luongo for the commercials and ads.