With the commercial Ontario sports betting launch less than a month away, the National Hockey League has its first sportsbook partner.
On Wednesday, Ontario Lottery and Gaming announced a partnership with the NHL for its ProLine+ sportsbook in ON sports betting. Run by the provincial lottery, ProLine+ launched in August 2021 when provinces were allowed to regulate single-event sports wagering.
“The OLG-NHL deal is a big win for our valued sports bettors,” OLG’s Chief Digital and Strategy Officer Dave Pridmore said in a statement. “A partnership with a world-class organization like the NHL will help complement the ultimate sports betting experience for hockey fans on PROLINE+ and PROLINE at retail, where our players can execute legal single-event wagers and other unique bets on a sport they love.”
Ontario sports betting extras
The partnership with the NHL comes ahead of the league’s sixth Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.
“As a leading gaming entertainment operator for more than four decades with an excellent track record in Ontario, OLG is an ideal partner for the NHL to begin our transformative entry into this space in Canada and to further engage our avid Canadian fan base,” NHL SVP of North American Business Development Kyle McMann said in the release.
With the partnership, Ontario bettors will see co-branded promotions on ProLine+ and lottery retail outlets, as well as additional digital content.
OLG readies for market competition
Prior to the Super Bowl, OLG secured a similar deal with the NFL.
Earlier in February, OLG launched new retail sports betting products at 10,000 retailers across the province.
Operators lining up for Ontario
Ontario was the first province to announce intentions to open its sports betting market to commercial operators last year. Last month, regulators started to approve registered sportsbook operators in Ontario.
The first four approved are:
- Rivalry Corp.
There are at least 30 applicants for sports betting licenses, according to previous LSR reporting.
Jostling for hockey sports betting partnerships
Ontario has a rich hockey environment, including two NHL teams in Toronto and Ottawa.
In January, Pointsbet announced a partnership with the NHL Alumni Association to become the organization’s exclusive partner in Canada sports betting.
BetMGM has partnership with NHL great Wayne Gretzky and recently signed current star Connor McDavid. FanDuel partnered with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, a team with plenty of support in Ontario.
Will Ontario launch on time?
There are plenty of questions a month before the commercial launch in Ontario. LSR‘s John Holden dove into the issue this week.
Perhaps chief among them is what regulators will do with gray-market operators, some of whom seem prepared to stay put. One Canadian gaming source told LSR enforcement will be tough to accomplish.
Additionally, there is mounting opposition, including from land-based casino operators and indigenous nations.