OLG Proposes Expansion of Online Sports Betting

Mobile sports betting in Ontario could get very interesting, very soon.

Expanding Mobile Sports Betting in OntarioOntario gaming regulators are constantly brainstorming new ways to expand authorized gambling services. The ultimate goal is, of course, to increase revenue generation for the province. But there are certainly benefits involved for those who (responsibly) enjoy gambling.

Let’s take a brief look at how the gambling laws have changed in the last four decades

Gambling in Ontario, Then and Now

First, the province legalized lottery ticket sale in 1975, creating the Ontario Lottery Commission (OLC) to regulate the industry. In 1999, the laws were amended to legalize casino gambling and limited forms of sports betting. To reflect those changes, OLC was reformulated as the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp (OLG).

OLG has since launched numerous casinos and slot machine parlours, and regulates an assortment of commercial and charitable gambling activities in the province. Years later, the regulator pushed for online gambling legislation that saw the launch of a provincially-run iGaming website, PlayOLG.ca, in 2015.

The one thing OLG does not offer in an online/mobile capacity is sports betting or PRO•LINE. All forms of sports wagering must be conducted in person at an authorized retailer. But that could change very soon.

Online & Mobile Sports Betting Expansion

On its iGaming website, the OLG hosts a page dedicated to Future Products FAQs. One of the top questions and answers here reads:

Will sports betting or PRO•LINE be available on PlayOLG?

PRO•LINE and sports betting may be offered on PlayOLG in the future. All of our products will be reviewed and refreshed on an ongoing basis, and we will keep you informed of upcoming product launches.

Apparently the time for expansion into online sports betting has arrived. OLG has launched a proposal to expand its services into online and mobile editions of its sports betting products. Not only that, the regulator thinks it’s time to branch out from traditional PRO•LINE and sports wagers.

The proposal includes options to regulate novelty prop bets. These would include wagers on entertainment, media and politics, such as the future winner of the next Canadian Idol, or whether US President Donald J. Trump will be impeached. Even eSports betting could become an authorized activity in Ontario.

OLG Spokesman Advocates Novelty / eSports Betting

Toni Bitonti is the Senior Manager of Media Relations for OLG. He was unable to confirm exactly what the final online sports betting product will look like, if approved. However, he is confident that e-sports and novelty betting have a rightful place in Ontario.

In a statement, Bitonti writes that eSports betting—wagering on the outcome of a PC/console video game tournament—“has surged in popularity” in recent years. “There are hundreds of eSport tournaments [and] events held each year, many in Ontario.”

He describes novelty betting as, “placing a bet on an outcome that’s not part of a sports or athletic event. For example, the winner of an election or the gender of a baby about to be born to royalty.

Bitonti adds that the “OLG sports offering will include new products that will provide more betting options on a wider variety of events, including all major North American sports leagues and major international sports”.

The expansion falls in line with OLG’s current modernization plan. The primary focus of the expansion is online and mobile sports betting, and could even include further steps to regulate live betting during sports events. That is something Ontario doesn’t currently permit, online or on land.

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