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Canada’s First NFL Sportsbook To Offer Entertainment Series

Canada announced the release of their first sportsbook focused on the US National Football League (NFL) just a week before the game of the year: the LVI Super Bowl. The sportsbook, which is to be driven by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) have also announced the release of their accompanying series #OLGGamePlan, whose first episode aired this Wednesday.

The OLG has signed a five-year deal to become an official retail lottery and sportsbook partner for the US National Football League together with PROLINE. This marks the very first sportsbook in Canada to focus on the NFL and was released just the week before the Super Bowl, which is the largest game of the football season.

The deal comes right after the 2021 Canadian legalization of the single game betting bill, which went into effect in August of the same year. Thus, the sportsbook and its accompanying tv series the #OLGGamePlan lines up perfectly with the largest betting event in North America: The Super Bowl.

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#OLGGamePlan series

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation chose to take their pioneering one step further, namely by creating an accompanying series to help football fans become more engaged. The series, which is to be called the #OLGGamePlan, is a collaboration between the social digital agency so.da and social media platform Twitter.

The show will be led by Brad Smith and Ashley Docking and will feature both sports analyses to help sports fans make informed betting placements, as well as weekly interviews with experts and players. For example, on the first episode which was launched on February 9th, the Wednesday before Super Bowl, the show invited four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana as a guest and discussed predictions, picks, and odds for the big game. The show will air on a weekly basis.

Twitter as a gateway to betting

The interactive elements of Twitter have proven to be drivers of betting interests in the past few years. Not only does the platform’s hashtags create networking and communication opportunities for sports fans all over the world, but it seems Twitter-users are also more prone to gamble on sports. “With Twitter users being 51% more likely to have used a betting, gambling, or lottery website or app, we know #OLGGamePlan is exactly the kind of content our sports audience craves,” says Twitter Canada’s partnerships manager Shay Thiyagarajah.

Longstanding production cooperation

The betting show is not the first time Twitter and so.da have teamed up. They have previously released nine custom content series since 2018. These shows have worked with big Canadian brands such as Samsung Canada, Stella Artois, and Amex Canada. The #OLGGamePlan series will mark their first sports-based content series. Their previous series have achieved large success with an average of over 50 million views per series.

Canadian betting is an expanding market

Canada has taken several steps to expanding their gambling market in recent times. Last year the Canadian government passed a bill that allowed for single game sports betting. This means that gamblers now can bet on a single game of whatever sport their watching, rather than placing parley bets, which involves placing bets on a series of games at a time. The new betting opportunity went into effect in August.

Single game betting allows for more interactive gambling, and creates larger revenue as the attraction to sports betting increases. This is also the reason why Canadians can bet on individual games such as the Super Bowl this year. Prior to the legalization of single game betting, Canadians allegedly spent over $10 billion on the black market for the very same type of betting. The government now hopes to be able to redistribute the revenues from taxing winnings and thus monitor the gambling market better.

The dark side of Canadian gambling

As mentioned above, the introduction of single game betting as within the legal range of Canadian gambling is expected to bring back billions of dollars, but entering the back market isn’t the only way that Canadian gamblers have dealt behind the governments back. One of the discussions surrounding the legalization of single game betting has been the issue of match fixing.

Match fixing

Match fixing is an act where the outcome of a single game or match has been pre-determined, likely to benefit certain gamblers or outcomes in the league. The Canadian Soccer League has faced allegations and investigations over match fixing issues several times. The last time the CSL faced a major investigation was in 2015 when the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) reported that over half of the league’s matches presented “suspicious betting patterns”.

Though some have argued that the introduction of legalized single game betting will enhance the risk of match fixing, most argue that the legalization will also lead to a drastic increase in taxable revenue which will benefit the market in the long run. Furthermore, without it OLG might not have been able to sign the sportsbook contract and Canadians would definitely miss out on half the fun of the Super Bowl.


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