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Ontario welcomes $6m handle in first month of legal sports betting


Ontario’s new sports betting service has accepted more than $6m in bets in its first four weeks of operations.

In figures released by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the operator and owner of the Proline+ service, which debuted on 27 August, said the handle figure “signalled that Ontario bettors have been eagerly awaiting a trustworthy option to lay down their bets”. Proline+ offers Ontarians the opportunity to make a legal bet on a single event for the first time ever in the Canadian province following the passing of the federal Bill C-218.

OLG said single-event bets account for 77% of all wagers placed on the online sportsbook during its first month of operations.

OLG also released the results of a survey of players, with 1,000 having been interviewed about their views on online betting, the advancement of legal single event betting in Canada and their thoughts and opinions on betting on sports in general.

The survey found that 62% said they’re now more likely to make a single-event sports bet because of its recent legalization in Canada.

It found that more than half of respondents said betting on a game adds fun to the live sports experience, especially during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some 24% of those surveyed said they will attend more sports games in the next 12 months than before the pandemic, and 27% of those surveyed said betting on their favorite team during COVID-19 helped offset the fact that they couldn’t go to games.

“We’re excited to be first to market bringing Ontarians what they told us they’ve been looking for – a trustworthy, best-in-class platform that complements their sports watching experience,” said David Pridmore, OLG chief digital and strategy officer.

“Since we launched our online sportsbook Proline+ in late-August, we’ve already processed more than $6m in bets, and we’re expecting even more interest in the platform as more sports and leagues start new seasons and as our player base continues to scale.”

OLG said just under half of Ontario’s sports bettors place a bet at least once a month, with almost one in four wagering at least once a week. The survey confirmed a growing number of women are betting, with females making up around a third of sports bettors in the province.

Some 66% of frequent bettors – defined as those who bet once a week or more – said that betting on sports gives them something to talk about with their friends. More than half of sports bettors in Ontario said betting is a source of entertainment and can make watching sports events more fun.

Single event sports betting became legal in Canada on 27 August following Bill C-218’s passage into law in July.

The bill was designed to repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, under which consumers were only permitted to wager on at least three games or more. As a result, betting on a single match or event was prohibited.

The state-owned OLG launched Proline+ on the same day, with private operators interested in obtaining an online gaming license able to prepare applications for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) this month. AGCO earlier this month released its igaming sports and event betting regulatory standards for the province’s market.