The 2021 Grey Cup turned out to be a strategy snapshot for PROLINE+ coming into the new year, according to Dave Pridmore, the OLG’s chief digital and strategy officer.
Ontario sports betting apps are still waiting to launch, so PROLINE+ is the only legal option for Ontario bettors.
In an interview, Pridmore told OntarioBets.com that if he were to summarize its competition strategy for 2022, it would be more sports to wager on, more of a focus on in-game wagering (40% of PROLINE+ wagers in 2021 were in-game) and player prop bets. Soon its product focus will be Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, events that are fast approaching.
The Grey Cup, held in December, was a tight affair, where the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger Cats in a 33-25 overtime thriller. The game saw the most betting action in the history of OLG’s PROLINE brand (retail and PROLINE+ digital). Single bets were 82%, parlays 18%. Pre-game bets were at 68%, while live betting was 32%.
“That’s why it’s so important for us to focus on player props and in-game wagering,” Pridmore said. “We had great numbers for the Grey Cup. That’s a great sign for fan engagement for the league, and for us to really focus on that sport coming up this year. We were a part of the event, all the way from start to finish. We really saw the wagering as Winnipeg came back. It was a real ride on the wagering side (as the game went on).”
Another big push for OLG early in 2022 will be a retail launch for sports betting.
When Will Online Market Fully Launch?
Everyone is wondering when competition will come on board this year, with no go-live date for other players to enter a regulated market at this point. It likely will be after the Super Bowl. Pridmore says his team isn’t focused on what will happen when a competitive market gets rolling.
“We don’t get too fussed about when the market opens and when it won’t. Our mantra is to drive the best product we can for our customers. We are extremely happy with our progress on our digital PROLINE+ offering,” he said. “If I look at our sports betting category (retail as well) it’s a record year for OLG for most wagers ever, highest revenue ever. Most prizes paid out. Most number of bets. On the digital side PROLINE has been a great way to introduce new customers to OLG’s online gaming platform.
"We are introducing new customers who have traditionally played on grey market sites.”
“A quarter of our customers come through the PROLINE vertical now which is really strong giving that lottery is such a tool for us for people to come to play on olg.ca."
Pridmore says there are “big plans” for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics betting. More on those at a later date.
“It’s been four months (since we went live with PROLINE+) which isn’t a long time in the digital space, so we really expect to refine and improve our product in the coming year,” he added.
What Will Ontario Sports Betting Be Like?
How big is the Ontario sports betting market, potentially?
“It’s a hard question to answer,” Pridmore said. “There are so many different market estimates out there and they vary greatly. I think it will largely depend on what the online gaming market will look like, as more information comes out, and who enters the market.
“I would say without giving a specific number I believe in the rapid growth of sports wagering that we have observed in the U.S. I expect Ontario to have significant growth. Tagging that to a specific U.S. state is always challenging because there are differences in how their online model works, number of licenses, land-based operations. It’s hard to tag it in terms of a comparable but I definitely think that OLG sees this as a big opportunity in growth and customers.”