NHL and Ontario Lottery Strike New Sports-Betting Partnership Ahead of Heritage Classic, iGaming Lau

The sports-betting partnership is the first one of its kind in Canada for the NHL, which has struck similar deals in the United States.

Last Updated: Mar 9, 2022 11:00 AM ET
Read Time: 2 min

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is making some powerful friends in the sports world lately – and just ahead of the launch of a competitive market for internet gambling in its home province.

The latest alliance was unveiled Wednesday morning, as the government-owned lottery company and the National Hockey League announced a multi-year partnership that makes OLG’s PROLINE + online sportsbook an official sports betting partner of the NHL.

The sports-betting partnership is the first of its kind in Canada for the league, which has struck similar deals in the United States.

OLG’s tie-up with the NHL extends to the company’s sports betting product offered by lottery retailers as well. It will also grant the lottery promotion across the NHL’s digital and social media channels and provide “distribution rights to the League’s official logos.”

Those opportunities will be in addition to the publicity PROLINE + will receive as the presenting sponsor of the official fan festival at the March 13 outdoor game in Hamilton, Ont.

“As we prepare to stage our sixth NHL Heritage Classic this weekend in Hamilton, we’re thrilled to announce PROLINE + by OLG as the NHL’s first official sports betting partner in Canada,” said Kyle McMann, the NHL’s senior vice president of North American business development, in a press release. “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.”

While it had initially been an opponent of expanding legal sports betting, the NHL has come around to the concept after the 2018 decision by the US Supreme Court that enabled a wave of legalization. The league now has numerous sports-betting partnerships in the US, and even voiced its support for the federal authorization of single-game wagering in Canada, which happened last summer.

Competition coming

The announcement of the partnership also arrives less than a month before OLG will face fresh competition from private-sector operators of online sportsbooks and internet-based casinos.

OLG’s PROLINE + is the only legal online sportsbook in Ontario at the moment, but when the provincial government’s competitive iGaming market goes live on April 4, that will likely no longer be the case.

OLG has been taking steps to bolster its business before new rivals hit the scene. Those efforts have included adding new betting markets to PROLINE + and forming partnerships like the one with the NHL. OLG announced a similar deal with the NFL before the Super Bowl.

The lottery (which also conducts and manages casino gambling) said Wednesday that the partnership with the NHL “further demonstrates” the company’s commitment to creating new sports-betting opportunities both in-person and online. The deal includes NHL-related online content and exclusive events and promotions for PROLINE bettors.

“The OLG-NHL deal is a big win for our valued sports bettors,” said Dave Pridmore, OLG’s chief digital and strategy officer, in the press release. “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. “

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