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Ontario Lottery Overhauling Online Platform; Poker and Sports Could be in the Cards

As part of a multiple year plan to update its online gaming offerings, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has selected U.K.-based Bede Gaming to complete the overhaul.

The PlayOLG platform was initially rolled out in 2015, offering Ontarians the opportunity to wager on casino table games, slots, video poker, and horse racing in addition to the online lottery.

At the time, both poker and sports betting components were planned for PlayOLG, but these verticals failed to go live at any point over the last three years. To that end, Bede Gaming was brought in to deconstruct the existing PlayOLG platform and build a comprehensive replacement.

OLG Looking to Expand Online Offerings Via Bede Gaming Platform

In a press release issued by the OLG, chief operating officer Greg McKenzie commented on the organization’s objectives relative to the Bede Gaming deal:

“We are investing in digital technology and product solutions to improve the customer experience and ensure we are responsive to changing customer expectations.

Bede will provide a new platform that will act as a central point of integration for OLG’s products and channels. This platform will allow OLG to add new games, improve our online offering and enable mobile responsiveness.

We are looking forward to developing our relationship with Bede as OLG continues its digital transformation.”

The press release also revealed that Bede Gaming’s overhaul should be completed by “early 2020.”

In its capacity as a crown agency of the provincial government of Ontario, the OLG began an intensive procurement process in 2017 to identify its next online gaming servicer.

Bede Gaming Enters North American Market for First Time

That procurement process singled out Bede Gaming, which was founded out of Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 2011.

Although the company maintains an extensive network of online gaming partnerships throughout Europe, the OLG deal marks its first entrance to the North American marketplace.

Bede Gaming co-founder Michael Brady offered his take on that market milestone in the jointly issued press release:

“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome OLG to Bede and am extremely proud of the team effort involved in bringing this agreement to fruition.

It is a huge recognition of the strength of our offering and firm proof of our status as a leading gaming platform in the industry.

This is a landmark contract win for Bede and I am sure will be the start of a long and successful relationship with one of the most respected names in the worldwide lottery sector. We are looking forward to supporting OLG in achieving digital excellence.”

Already licensed by the U.K. Gaming Commission (UKGC) and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), Bede Gaming has been certified as an approved gaming supplier by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGC) of Ontario.

To comply with AGC regulations, the new PlayOLG platform will include “world-leading” Responsible Gambling (RG) measures designed to let players set wagering limits, exercise self-exclusion, and take other steps to prevent problem gambling.

Poker and Sportsbook Offerings Could be Included in New Platform

While federal law in Canada prohibits sports betting, provincial governments are authorized to offer hybrid sports wagering through their lottery programs.

The OLG provides parlay betting and other games through its ProLine vertical, but the Bede Gaming website includes the following description of its sportsbook services:

“For operators wanting to launch or add a sportsbook to their brand offering, selecting the right platform partner is the key decision.

To launch a differentiated offering, being able to leverage deep integrations with the sportsbook of your choice, as well as use industry leading marketing and reporting tools, is vital.”

Lotteries partnering with sportsbook software firms is hardly unprecedented. The Delaware Lottery linked up with Scientific Games in June of this year, following the state’s legalization of sports betting.