It’s too soon to tell the whole story, but the NHL has a slightly higher ratio of in-play wagers compared to other pro Ontario sports betting events, according to Rhea Jankowski, OLG’s director digital sports marketing and operations, which runs PROLINE+.
Out of all hockey bets so far, according to Jankowski, 41% have been live bets, compared to baseball at 38% and football at 30%.
The OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.) isn’t releasing the number of bets or revenue figures anymore, a sign of the times, as an open and competitive market in Canada’s most populous province continues to pick up speed. Soon there should be more clarity from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) — the provincial regulator — on a market launch date and tax rates.
Many private operators and PROLINE+ competitors are sitting on the sidelines before submitting applications for licensing until there’s more clarity on how the market will look. But it’s coming fast.
So for now, we look to PROLINE+ for signs on where wagers are heading. All eyes will be on the NHL — how big a chunk of the betting pie North of the 49th that it will grab. The NHL season launched Oct. 12.
As Jankowski has said in the past, when it comes to NHL betting, a lot of people bet on the home team. Emotion drives a lot of it.
Overall, since the launch of PROLINE+ on Aug. 27, 47% of bets have been of football, 24% on baseball, 14% on soccer, 6% on hockey and 4% on basketball. The NBA started its season on Oct. 19.
Hockey Wagering Moves Up
But after the NHL launch, between Oct. 15 and 22, hockey jumped to No. 2 — 50% wagered on football, 17% on hockey, 12% on soccer, 11% on baseball, 9% on basketball.
It’s a crossroads type of season for the Toronto Maple Leafs after multiple playoff disappointments and a competitive window for the team’s current core that’s fast shrinking, so it will be interesting to watch how their story pans out this season. Interest in the Leafs certainly shows on the betting side. The Montreal Canadiens-Leafs season opener on Oct. 13 at Scotiabank Arena was the 35th highest wagered event overall since PROLINE+’s inception, Jankowski said.
And the first four Leafs games this season were all in the top five of wagered hockey games so far. The only non-Leafs game to slip in was the Pittsburgh Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning season opener (No. 3) on Oct. 12.