Proline Betting To Play Second Fiddle with the Arrival of New Bookmakers

Ontario’s legal and licensed sports betting framework came into full effect on the 4th of April, 2022, and has since led to a vibrant, option-filled sports betting and casino market with more and more operators joining by the day. While many Canadian bettors will be overjoyed by the new options they have at their disposal, OLG’s national sports lottery product, which had already seen a decrease in numbers, felt more pressure, as these operators became legal. 

New operators that have entered Ontario offer more than what Proline has to offer and have more experience within the commercial realm that Proline has never had to compete with in the past. Now, however, after dwindling users on Proline, the future is beginning to look rather morbid for the province’s sports lottery product. 

Proline Offers Single Game Betting in Late August 2021 

On the 27th of August 2021, the safe and regulated sports betting act, known at the time as bill C-218, received royal assent. In short, the bill allowed provinces in Canada to regulate themselves, which foreshadowed Ontario’s hasty move to set up a fully functioning iGaming market within a matter of months. 

Prior to legal sports betting in Ontario, after the passing of the safe and regulated sports betting act, the province of Ontario elected to legalize single-game betting, a decision that was highlighted by numerous media outlets as the main takeaway from the passing of Bill C-218. This was a big deal, as the sports lotteries available in Canada’s provinces and territories had only been offering users parlay betting, which betting on a number of outcomes with the same stake. Bettors would need all of their selections to be correct if they were to win their bets, which made these wagers exceptionally difficult to win. 

As a result, the introduction of single-game betting, which was led by Ontario, with OLG’s Proline accepting single-game bets on the same day as the passing of Bill C-218, was a monumental occasion for many Canadian bettors, and the decision to accept these bets gave OLG hope that their product would gain popularity. According to leading Canadian news outlet CBC, provincial lotteries are the least interacted source of sports betting and gambling, with grey market bookmakers, and illegal, unlicensed Canadian bookmakers leading the way. The hope, however, was short-lived. 

Commercial Sportsbooks Enter Ontario on 4th April 2022

Once the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act had received Royal Assent, Ontario’s initial commencement date for legal online sports betting was reported to be as early as Q4 in 2021. Considering the recency of the passing of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, this expectation felt somewhat unrealistic, and the date was later shifted to the 4th of April, 2022. 

In that in-between period, the bookmaker that would later make it onto the list of licensed betting sites in Ontario began elaborate marketing campaigns, chief amongst them being Australian betting site Pointsbet, which had already established an impressive foothold in the US. Pointsbet ended up partnering with world-famous Canadian television series actors from “The Trailer Park Boys” firmly establishing popularity amongst Ontario sports betting fans. 

What this meant for Proline, however, is that more and more competitors that outweighed them in terms of the platforms on offer were entering the market at a rate not yet seen before in Canada. While Ontario bettors had gray market offshore bookmakers to choose from, the fact that they weren’t officially legal (or illegal) cast shadows of doubt and kept these users coming back to Proline. Now that these superior bookmakers were licensed meant that nothing was stopping Ontario bettors from using them. 

The end for Proline, or a new beginning?

So, will Proline be able to keep up with the heightened level of competition in Ontario, or is this a new opportunity for OLG’s lottery product to reinvent itself, to become an option that is on par with the rest of what is out there at the moment? 

As it stands, Proline can’t quite keep up with the odds, features, and general user experience found on the new bookmakers to enter Ontario, but these are somewhat easy fixes if OLG were to partner with leading front-end gaming operators and odds providers. All that is for sure is that time will tell what will happen to this provincial sports lottery. 

Leave a Comment