One of the interesting points that came out of a year-end chat with Dave Pridmore, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. chief digital and strategy officer, was the Super Bowl opportunity for PROLINE+, as a “go-live” date for Ontario sports betting apps gets pushed back.
First there was a hope the Ontario market would be open to more licensed operators by the Grey Cup, then it was the month of December. Then the hope was the market would be open by Super Bowl, scheduled for Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Now. many in the industry think that go-live date will be after the Super Bowl.
Right now the only place to go for legal, single-event Ontario sports betting is PROLINE+. That came online in late August.
Most PROLINE+ betting is on the NFL. It’s like that everywhere. In the U.S. market, the American Gaming Association estimated in September that a record 45.2 million Americans would be betting this season. We’ll see how it ends up here.
“We are extremely happy with our progress with our digital PROLINE+ offering,” Pridmore said. It has been a record year for OLG, with the most wagers and highest revenue ever. Ontarians love to bet on sports, and that’s being played out in real time.
A big objective is to continue to introduce new customers to OLG’s full online gaming platform via PROLINE.
“Probably one quarter of our customers comes through the PROLINE vertical now,” Pridmore said. “We see a great uptick from new customers to OLG, which is great for the health of both our retail and digital businesses.”
OLG Has Big Super Bowl Plans
The platform is integrating new customers who have traditionally played in gray market areas. Pridmore says they have big plans for the Super Bowl, and will share some of those as the game nears.
Therein lies an opportunity for PROLINE+, to use the biggest sports betting event to gain market share before all the big private operators like DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario and BetRegal enter the Ontario market. That delay in opening a fully regulated market has been a fortuitous bounce for OLG.
The OLG saw significant betting action on the Grey Cup despite TV ratings for the championship game being down.
Educating New Bettors in Sports Betting Canada
The OLG has a lot of “how-to” videos on their platform to help de-mystify sports betting for novices, so the added traffic from Super Bowl will help more people get educated as well.
February is going to be a big month. There is not many days that go by here where I am not talking about the Super Bowl in some way. It is a major focus for us, both digital and retail.
“We don’t really get too focused on when the market will open and when it won’t,” Pridmore said. “Our mantra is, drive out the best product we can for our customers. No doubt with Super Bowl coming, regardless if the market is open, we will be really focused on introducing new customers. It’s absolutely an opportunity, like it is with every sportsbook globally. It’s a key acquisition opportunity. It’s the Super Bowl of gaming.
“So we will have plans. We are still refining those. We plan on having some great prop bets out there, some cool stuff to reward our existing customers, and attract new ones. The really cool thing is that the Winter Olympics coincide around the same time. That’s going to be a great opportunity to focus on Canadian content in the Olympics for Ontario.”