Could Ontario get province regulated online poker in 2020?

Ontario Will Overhaul Its Online Lottery Platform With Bede Gaming

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Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG) may not be a household name outside Canada, but it delivers over $2.5 billion a year in cash to help Ontario provide health care, for the treatment, prevention and research of problem gambling; and support for amateur athletes.

The playOLG website offers a suite of lottery and casino games and is now being given a complete makeover. UK gaming technology company Bede Gaming has been selected to create the new customer platform for OLG.

Bede will create a completely new online platform

The contract with OLG is by far Bede’s biggest. It is also the first time the company has won a supplier deal in North America.

Dave Pridmore, SVP Enterprise Strategy & Analytics, OLG explained that as a crown agency for the Province of Ontario, the company carried out a stringent procurement process that began back in 2017.

Pridmore commented:

“We are investing in digital technology and product solutions to improve the customer experience and ensure we are responsive to changing customer expectations. The platform Bede will provide will be a central point of integration for OLG’s products and channels.”

He said that the new platform would go live in early 2020, and that “the platform that Bede is providing is a critical part of our future strategy to satisfy our customers changing needs.”

The new platform will allow playOLG to add new games, enhance players’ online experience and improve the mobile platform.

Alex Butcher, managing director of Bede Gaming, explained that Bede is “building a complete replacement for the platform technology that underpins OLG.”

The entire project will build on Bede’s existing platform customized and augmented for the specific needs of PlayOLG.

This is good news for Ontario’s gamers especially the news that playOLG will get a mobile option.

Online poker and sports betting may finally come to playOLG

PlayOLG launched its PlayOLG Poker Twitter account back in 2013. The final tweet was posted on Nov. 22, 2013, just four days after the account opened.

PlayOLG obviously intended to offer online poker, but the plans never made it past the drawing board.

Sports betting suffered the same fate, but now that OLG has contracted Bede to update the platform, the chances are that those early plans for poker and sports betting may eventually be realized.

So if the commitment to “add new games” includes online poker and sports betting, Ontarians will be able to abandon their accounts at offshore operators and return to the safer province regulated environment provided by OLG.

Bede’s website boasts that the Bede platform is ideal for operators seeking to add a sportsbook:

“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.”

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Bede is new to North America but not to iGaming

Through its European business, Bede’s platform currently processes hundreds of millions of transactions every month, adding up to over 2.5 billion a year.

The platform is “scalable, modular and adaptable allowing operators to integrate any third party software into the platform or use its bespoke tools. The platform also integrates into land-based systems offering a genuine omni-channel convergence solution.”

Bede is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and in advance of doing the deal with OLG, Bede registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as a gaming supplier.

The company is optimistic that the contract with OLG will just be its first in North America. MD Alex Butcher said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have been selected by OLG. It is a huge recognition of the strength of our offering and we are looking forward to supporting one of lotteries’ most respected names in achieving digital excellence.”

- A former founder of Poker Industry Pro and Head of Content at PokerNews publisher iBus Media, Joss Wood is a graduate in English from the University of Birmingham. Joss also holds a master’s degree in Organisational Development from the University of Manchester. His career path has taken him from the British Army, through business and finance to seven years as a successful professional poker player.
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