Ontario Gaming Operators Go Big on Marketing
Ontario free-to-play gambling operators continue their comprehensive marketing endeavours ahead of the local market liberalisation.
Ontario operators currently offering free-to-play gaming platforms are boosting their marketing and advertising presence ahead of the private operators entering the market. Bet99, PokerStars, Odds Shark, Party Casino, and Jackpot City acquired advertising space on TSN’s Grey Cup broadcast on 12 December to promote their free-to-play services.
Currently, the five corporations offer free-to-play games on the “dot net” website, from where players can transfer to a “dot com” site where real-money betting can be accessed. It was expected that these grey market operators would have a problem because of Ontario’s new gambling market launch. However, sales continue to soar, even with Ontario delaying the launch of its new gaming operations to February 2022.
Bet99, which was started by the former hockey player Doug Honegger, has a pay-to-play wagering site licensed by gaming authorities in Malta, the Netherlands, and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The company is also expected to apply for a licence in Ontario and spend big money on TV and digital advertising to attract prospective clients.
This month, the Ottawa Senators became the first NHL team in Canada to get a gambling sponsor of their gear, with the Bet99.net logo now displayed on their helmets. Additionally, the company started the #BettingOnWomenIsNeverAGamble campaign by displaying it on a billboard at Dundas Square. Meghan Chayka, Shea-Lynn Noyes, and Alysha Newman were the campaign’s unveiling faces.
Sports sponsorship and marketing consultant, Gavin Roth, commented that Bet99 is spending large budgets on marketing since most big-name players await starting their large-scale marketing campaigns when the market opens. According to Roth, that has been the pattern observed in the US and similar trends are also now seen in Canada.
He added that the grey market would continue to attract local sports bettors until the province launches its new regulated gambling framework. This is primarily why the gaming companies are taking advantage of the current interlude while possible. Roth noted that he expects to see more marketing from BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet, and other operators once the new market segment is officially launched during the first quarter of 2022.