New Ontario sports betting apps will begin launching on April 4. Unlike the United States, Ontario won’t allow commercials, billboards, or other marketing channels to bombard bettors with aggressive welcome bonuses.
Ontario will also restrict the language that sportsbooks are allowed to use in their bonuses. For example, expect “risk-free bets” to be renamed “bet insurance.”
But that doesn’t mean that Ontario bettors won’t be made aware of all these new online sports betting sites. Here’s how Ontario’s new sportsbooks can still reach bettors.
Potential Marketing For Ontario Online Sports Betting Sites
Ontario sports bettors may not see welcome bonuses with extravagant dollar amounts advertised everywhere, but online sports betting sites have other ways to engage with potential customers. They can take a page from the marketing tactics that free-to-play social games use.
Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut launched free-to-play casino games during the pandemic and they continue to be strong products. While bonuses and promotions play a role in marketing those products, there are other ways to reach customers, too.
“We’ll do a lot [of outreach] through social media,” Anika Howard, President and CEO of MPI said. “We’ll do a lot of player events and on-property events and promotions and signups.”
While sportsbooks’ marketing language is regulated, they can still be active on social media. They can also host events where potential customers arrive, mingle, and earn promotions for signing up.
Leading up to Ontario’s private igaming launch, theScore has done both. theScore’s Twitter page includes snippets of sports news and a link to its Ontario pre-registration promotion. It is also hosting an in-person pre-registration event in Toronto leading up to its launch.
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Product Marketing For Ontario Bettors
“Sometimes, we’ll do a first deposit bonus or things like that, but beyond just core [customers], I feel like it’s the product marketing and it’s a lot of the relationship-building that allows us to bring some of those players in,” Howard said.
Major online sportsbook brands will have plenty of ways to do this. They could cross-promote like Foxwoods Casino often does.
“[Customers] will signup for our Foxwoods Rewards program and here are some of the other things that you get [from that],” Howard said.
Foxwoods Rewards prizes include free hotel stays, dinner packages, and even loyalty points that will get customers to the next reward tier. Loyalty programs are a casino’s way of offering customers unique benefits that aren’t available elsewhere. Tying rewards points into free-to-play games, like Foxwoods Casino has, entices bettors to spend their gambling time at Foxwoods rather than competing casinos.
Each online sportsbook obviously has its own promotions, but some online sportsbooks also have unique features that really do set them apart from their competitors.
For example, theScore Bet will be integrated with theScore’s app. So, bettors will be able to go straight from reading about sports, to betting on sports, then go back to reading about sports all through one brand. BetMGM and BetRivers have loyalty programs that are tied to their casinos.
These are all features that sportsbooks can advertise to stand out without relying on high welcome bonus amounts or uniquely favorable bonus terms.
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What Ontario Bettors Should Watch For From New Sportsbooks
Private sportsbooks will bring new odds, promotions, and features to Ontario’s sports betting market. Many of these sportsbook brands will launch casinos either at launch or shortly after launch. Further, every new online sportsbook site in Ontario will be competing for bettors’ attention.
Ontario bettors may have already seen sportsbooks boast partnerships, such as PointsBet with the Trailer Park Boys or the NHL Alumni Association. But bettors may also see ads for:
- In-person events hosted by sportsbook brands
- Social media campaigns that focus on sports analysis and partnerships
- Cross-promotions for signups and loyalty programs
That doesn’t mean that new Ontario sportsbook sites won’t have welcome bonuses or promotions. Bettors will be able to find those deals on each sportsbook’s promotion page. But based on alternative marketing methods in the gambling industry, Ontario bettors will still see plenty of outreach from sportsbook and online casino brands after Ontario’s private igaming industry goes live.