The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has launched an improved version of its Proline Ontario online sports betting app.
An OLG press release touts it as the “first and only sports betting app in Ontario to offer both online and in-store wagering options.”
The new Proline app “combines the current bet-building functionality for in-store purchases with direct online wagering into one integrated app to create an exclusive new betting experience for Ontario sports fans.”
Proline wagering is available at some 10,000 lottery retailers in the province, making it the only physical sportsbook option in Ontario — for now.
Retail sportsbooks at other locations are, allegedly, coming to Ontario at some point. So said Rich Roberts, president of Mohegan Digital to PlayCanada when the company launched the PlayFallsview online sportsbook and casino last week.
Build your bet, play in-store
As for Proline, players can place and pay for live bets in real-time on its new app. They can also choose to build bets and generate a barcode on the app. That barcode can be used to purchase Proline tickets at lottery retailers in Ontario.
“The new app gives players the unprecedented ability to make a sports bet directly on the app or at retail using the bet builder functionality,” said Dave Pridmore, OLG’s chief digital and strategy officer in a release. “This latest product enhancement reinforces our commitment to convenience and choice for our players while also offering a competitive sports book with the confidence, trust, and goodwill of the OLG brand.”
The OLG said it designed the app to promote responsible gambling. Tools are built into the app to help establish and maintain healthy play habits, along with access to PlaySmart, the Ontario responsible gambling program in. Customers can use these tools to set spend and loss limits for example, customizing the play experience to serve their personal preferences.
Ontario residents who are 18 or older can build bets to buy tickets in store using Proline, while customers must be 19 or older and have a registered OLG.ca account to place and pay for bets on the app.
OLG more than holding its own against open competition
Despite competition from 23 new sports betting and Ontatrio online casino operators, Pridmore told PlayCanada that OLG is more than holding its own. He did not give specific numbers, but he did say:
“I’m not shy in saying that we’ve been growing our revenue base, for sure… We’re hitting really strong numbers now. We’ll probably be hitting our highest wagering numbers in a given year, this year.
“We have, obviously, a strong loyal customer base that’s continued to play with us. And we’ve been able to continue to add more customers and really retain our core customers. So, we’ve been happy to perform well.”
OLG has deals with Top 4 major leagues
The OLG has locked up long-term deals with the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA. Pridmore said:
“We were happy to get them all, and all relatively close to each other. Obviously, we’re happy to have them as the major sports leagues, but also for more than just a year. We’ve got, generally, three-year deals with a multitude of optionality in there, as well.”
Pridmore said the deals will allow the OLG to integrate “fun content that gets our customers closer to the game.”
For example, at this year’s Super Bowl, the OLG gave away VIP tickets for next year’s Super Bowl. More giveaways are planned for the future.
Some of the deals also allow the OLG to offer free-to-play games. Pridmore said:
“We really think having our connection to free-to-play games just for the casual… sports fan that’s interested in a little bit of extra activity in the watching the game, this puts us right with the leagues.”
Those four leagues, minus soccer’s Premier League, make up “the majority of our betting,” Pridmore said. “We’re trying to make sure that our partnerships are focused around the sports that our customers generally engage in.”
Player props and much more coming to Proline
Pridmore said the growth of in-play wagering and player props has increased the OLG’s focus on providing more of those betting opportunities. He said:
“That’ll be really our focus this year is to provide much more wagering on the player prop side for in-play wagering. We’ve been noticing that spike, for sure.”
The OLG is also expanding its pools product.
Pools product takes advantage of death of DFS
Pridmore said the OLG’s pools product offers a chance to bet on a long list of games. It is much like a typical office pool. All money wagered is pooled and the winner takes a portion of the pooled bets.
The product has been offered for a long time on the retail side. Pridmore said it would likely be offered on Proline’s digital platform before the NFL season kicks off. Now that daily fantasy sports is classified as a sports betting product that can only be provided to Ontario players, the OLG sees an opportunity.
Pridmore said the OLG’s pool product is:
“Kind of a fun little product, especially with daily fantasy sports not being really viable in Ontario anymore. We think it might be a cool product to introduce on our digital platforms, as well.
“And then we’ll have a whole whack of player prop betting, again, probably just close to NFL launch. Definitely I’d say that we’ll have some big improvements and customer enhancements coming up over the next four to five months.
“We’re definitely looking at what else we can add to our portfolio, sports specifically… But we’ve also got some other exciting things coming on the iCasino and lottery side as well.”
Expanded retail sportsbooks at casinos
As for the OLG’s possible involvement with retail sportsbooks and beyond, Pridmore said, “the casinos are looking into it.” He said he envisions expanded sportsbooks at the province’s casinos before too long. But not so much a UK-style system of retail sportsbooks on most streets. He said:
“We’re different than the UK market. We’ve got retail sports operations and we’ve got casinos who are interested. We’ve got some other core entertainment options that I’m sure are considering it. But I know that casinos are kind of right on the cusp of figuring out their plan and how they choose to attack them.”