Woodbine ready for Single-Game Sports Betting in Ontario

Single-Game Sports Betting in OntarioOntario isn’t what you would call the most modernized gambling-centric community; certainly not when it comes to online casino gaming. That title belongs to British Columbia, where the BCLC launched Canada’s first home-regulated, internet-based gambling website, Playnow.com, in 2004. Quebec came next in 2010, with Ontario waiting until January 2015 to officially launch PlayOLG.com.

While we can’t say Ontario was on top of the game, we can commend provincial leaders for their cautious nature. Observing the efficacy of online gambling regulation in other regions, and developing models that mimic the good, while avoiding the bad, is worth a little praise.

The region’s historic attitude may soon flip-flop though, with reports that single-game sports betting could actually become a reality in Ontario; something no Canadian province offers at this time due to existing laws. For the moment, disappointing parlays are the only legal form of sports betting across the nation.

According to Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, if and when Canada does legalize single-game sports betting, his forward-thinking company is already prepared to roll out the software required to deliver in-house and online sports betting wagers on single events.

Lawson’s company has been in talks with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) recently. Following a recent partnership, both are showing interest in the potential for Woodbine to present online horse race betting via the OLG’s online gambling website.

Ontario Online Horse Race Betting

Woodbine Single-Game Sports Betting Tech ReadyAccording to reports, Lawson is ‘cautiously optimistic‘ about integrating horse race betting on PlayOLG. He believes bringing the pari-mutuel betting market to online punters would be a great boost for the sport, bringing in more revenue and reinvigorating the excitement that once revolved around horse racing.

He also noted that, should the partnership be successful, he has high hopes for the future of single-game sports betting in Ontario. Lawson intends to continue the push for iGaming expansion via legislation to remove restrictions on sports betting.

Single-Game Sports Betting Platform Ready

The bulk of that argument could come from the fact that Woodbine Entertainment already has the necessary technology developed to integrate single-game sports betting, via its HPI Betting System.

Lawson, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Canadian Football League, said it would be “a real game-changer” if provided the opportunity. “You don’t have to just project it, you can see the impact in other countries in the world,” expressed Lawson in a recent interview with the Toronto Sun.

“We could run single-game sports betting off the backbone of that,” he said. “Our tote systems, our whole information technology systems are sophisticated enough to do that.

“We’re hoping and thinking that there is a role for single-game sports betting and the importance to horse racing is we be part of it rather than be cannibalized,” he said.

The CEO added that Woodbine has “been engaged in a number of conversations,” with OLG, and has been proactive in delivering the message that its software is fully capable of providing a single-game sports betting platform.

“We’d like racing to even be a part of a pro-line type bet today where the parlay betting is allowed. Is it imminent?” he questioned. To that, he could only say, “I’m not sure.”

Woodbine – and the Canadian horse racing industry as a whole – has struggled in recent years. Attendance is down, revenue is down, and that means less yield for tracks and provincial governments alike.

“I really think it’s the type of thing we need to do to create revenue for horse racing and there is a real push on to integrate our gaming with what the gaming authority is doing,” said Lawson.

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