OLG bets on trust to bring players into Proline+

With single event sport betting now legalized, the crown corp hopes having established equity in an emerging space will set it apart.

For existing and would-be lottery and gaming brands, Aug. 27 marked a win with the lifting of restrictions on single event sporting events. But with a history in the space, OLG wagers it can keep pace with the plethora of betting services with Proline+.

The OLG has launched campaign creative supporting the service, which launched last week, where pro football, tennis players and auto racers are sent airborne and then sucked into a “plus” sign brand logo vortex. The spot calls out Proline+’s “dynamic, competitive odds” and that the platform can be used with a mobile.

Randy Weyersberg, CMO at OLG, tells strategy that because the product is new, it required something big, anthemic, and with grandeur, compared with what consumers might have been used to from Proline.

The campaign strategy is digital first, with a “strong, complementary” TV component. The whole campaign and creative was designed to exist in the digital space, and according to Weyersberg, there are other components being layered in reinforcing that OLG’s Proline+ is a trusted and safe platform.

While single-sport betting is new in Ontario, the Proline brand still has established equity in the space by allowing betting on groups of games.

“We are confident in our position in the marketplace, we have first mover advantage in terms of legally offering single event wagering,” Weyersberg says. “We intend to capitalize on that advantage, and leveraging the long history Proline has with its customer base as a trusted brand for sports betting.”

Trust and safety is something that may be incredibly valuable. According to July figures from the Ontario government, Ontarians spend close to $1 billion a year on online gambling, with an estimated 70% of that taking place on unregulated betting sites with little oversight in terms of consumer protection.

OLG’s intention is to extent its player base by going after those betters who in the past have chosen to bet with platforms deemed “grey market” offerings, whether it’s offshore platforms like Antigua and Bahamas-based Bodog or the UK’s Bet365. “We are certainly interested in bringing them over to Proline,” Weyersberg adds.

According to Weyersberg, sports gambling has been quite stable over the last six months. In the early days of lockdowns, the absence of live sports had a very large impact, but it’s now almost back to pre-COVID levels. With the advent of single event wagering becoming legal in Ontario, “we are seeing an acceleration,” he says. There are also consistencies across the board in terms of preferred sports to wager on, but NFL leads the way in the North American market, and the timing of the campaign is fortuitous with the gridiron kickoff around the corner.

When it comes to spend, Weyersberg says that for OLG, it’s a major effort and the dollars reflect the commitment and the importance of this launch.

The creative was done by The Hive, while Mediacom handled the buy side. Hill & Knowlton assisted with PR.