Canadian Lottery Operator Seeking New Betting Platform

21 April 2009
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation of Canada has announced plans to beef up its online betting platform, though, for now, the company is keeping a tight lid on how its existing offering will be modified.

The ALC, as the company is better known, is owned by the Atlantic provinces it serves: Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

It offers a number of online and offline services, including bingo and lottery games, and a portion of its net profits are redistributed among the four provinces each year.

The company's online betting offering is comprised of a number of games -- Pro-Line, Point Spread and Over/Under -- but under the Canadian Criminal Code, single-match betting prohibited. All betting games -- except those for horserace betting -- are therefore offered parlay style.

Last month, the ALC put out a request for proposals on a new betting platform and an accompanying player account management system.

According to the RFP document on its Web site, the company said that platform would be used to "enhance and build on our current product offering" in an effort to "remain relevant to our players."

When contacted by IGamingNews Tuesday, Jennifer Dalton, a spokeswoman for the ALC, declined to discuss how the company intended to enhance its existing product.

"It's still in the competitive bidding process at this time," she said. In its 2007 annual results, the ALC said gross ticket sales fell 4 percent due, in part, to unlicensed Internet competition.

While growing online competition is thought to have spurred the ALC's decision to modernize its offering, Michael D. Lipton, a Canadian gaming expert and attorney with Dickinson Wright in Toronto, suggested the company's decision was driven more by staying current, less by stemming the offshore tide.

"It's time that they did this," he told IGamingNews in an interview Tuesday.

Mr. Lipton said that Canada's attorney general, Robert Nicholson, has shown a willingness to amend the country's criminal code to allow single-game betting.

A number of provinces, like Ontario and Nova Scotia, have been lobbying for change, he said.

"I think it's just a matter of time before the legislation will be amended," Mr. Lipton said.

Neither Ms. Dalton nor Mr. Lipton would comment on which companies had submitted proposals.

According to the ALC's Web site, all proposals are due by May 6.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.