The Vancouver Sun reports that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is planning an expansion of its online and mobile activity, and is looking for suitable providers to assist it.
Industry observers have surmised that the Request for Proposals may open the door for other types of gambling such as novelty and eSports betting.
OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti told the newspaper that it is still too early to fully define the final product, but that other gambling jurisdictions allow punters to make such bets.
“In the last few years, eSports betting, has surged in popularity,” Bitonti said in a statement. “There are hundreds of eSport tournaments events held each year, many in Ontario.”
“Novelty betting is 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,” he added.
Bitonti said the expansion plans are focused primarily on sports betting and will permit live bets during games, something currently unavailable through OLG.
“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,” Bitonti said, noting that the online expansion coincides with OLG’s plan to replace and update retail lottery terminals across the province.
The cost of the expansion project has not yet been disclosed, because the procurement process has only just started, Bitonti explained.
It will see Ontario join four other Canadian jurisdictions which currently have online sports, eSports and novelty betting — Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba.
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the provincial government supports OLG’s online expansion but added that it must continue to prioritise responsible gaming.
“We’ve been looking at the modernisation strategy,” he said. “We’re looking at expanding and protecting consumer activity. The situation is that a lot of online gambling activity occurs that is unregulated and many people are exposed, especially young kids.”
“In my capacity I have a duty of social responsibility here,” he said. “I also have to ensure that we re-invest in things that will help people with addiction.”