The competition in the Ontario iGaming and sports betting space is fierce, but one sportsbook likes its chances of becoming a major player.
BetRegal, the flagship brand of the Regal Group Ltd, is a Canadian company that began its operations in Europe, and it’s now targeting Ontario as its primary market. Currently licensed in the UK, Malta, Ireland, and Curacao, BetRegal is engaged in the application process with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario and hopes to launch sometime in May.
A member of the Canadian Gaming Association, BetRegal owns its own software and risk-management platform and plans to launch apps for both Android and iOS once it goes live in Ontario, although there have been some delays on the development of these apps due to the ongoing military crisis in Ukraine, where some of the company’s developers are located.
CEO Mike Mirtl and Head of Marketing Aly Lalani, who formally launched BetRegal in 2017 under their Malta license, are both from the Toronto area. They grew up playing hockey at Ryerson University in Toronto and feel as though they have a strong grasp of what Canadian sports bettors are looking for. Mirtl also has tentative plans to open an office in the remote area of North Bay, Ontario, later this year and directly hire employees from the local university.
The company launched a free-to-play website last July that was “built by Canadians, for Canadians” and boasts a senior management team that brings decades of global internet gaming industry experience. Lalani says he got his “sports betting MBA at Pinnacle” sportsbook, and he also previously worked with Bodog.
BetRegal’s Ontario and Canada strategy
Ontario’s regulated iGaming and sports betting market launched April 4, and although BetRegal wasn’t one of the 13 initial operators to launch, the executive team isn’t worried about the head start of companies like FanDuel, PointsBet, theScore Bet, Caesars, Rush Street Interactive, and BetMGM.
“I have no problem with some of these others guys making the noise right now. We are going to create a campaign specifically around ‘you’ve seen the rest, now come home,'” Lalani said. “If you think I’m going to let bet365 or PointsBet come in here and do this better than us, it’s not going to happen. We’re OK with the idea of those guys coming out and creating this category, because, quite frankly, our product is better.”
Lalani said he personally uses five different sportsbooks at times, and he sees sports betting as a category business.
“TheScore are content guys, and DraftKings are fantasy guys, and there are very few sports betting guys in the Canadian marketplace,” he said. “I’ll tell you, we’re sports betting guys. You’re not going to find a more creative sportsbook than us.”
BetRegal’s pricing model will separate itself from the pack, according to Lalani.
“If you go to bet365 and you the see the Blue Jays at -115, you’ll see them at -108 at BetRegal,” he said.
The company also is contemplating the idea of hosting a commission-free “Hockey Night in Canada” promotion. BetRegal would take zero commission on the marquee Saturday night NHL games featuring Canadian teams, a ploy which has the potential to be wildly popular with local hockey bettors.
BetRegal is also promising to not “punch you in the face with their product,” meaning bettors will see a slow and staggered marketing approach from the sportsbook.
BetRegal is the official sports gaming partner of the Canadian Football League and is also the official title sponsor of the PGA of Canada. CFL legends Damon Allen and Matt Dunigan, as well as former NHLer Bernie Nicholls, are currently brand ambassadors. Additionally, the company is the global betting partner for Dundalk FC of the Irish Premier League.
Congratulations to @CanadianGaming member @betregal and the @CFL on their made-in-Canada partnership! We can't wait to see how this enhances the fan experience! https://t.co/DS4xC0o5Ci
— Canadian Gaming Association (@CanadianGaming) August 3, 2021
The CFL is a massive partnership deal for BetRegal, which saw it as a natural fit given their mutual Canadian roots.
“The evolving regulatory landscape around sports betting in Canada presents an amazing opportunity to enhance the CFL fan experience. As fellow Canadians, we are excited to apply our decades of experience in this sector to help educate Canadian sports fans on the sports gaming experience, with a particular focus on responsible gaming,” Mirtl said in a press release.
Lalani said another major CFL-related announcement will be coming in the next week.
Other sportsbooks have recently rushed to ink partnerships with individual CFL teams. PointsBet Canada signed on as the official sports betting partner of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks in March, and FanDuel will be teaming up with the Toronto Argonauts as part of its new collaboration with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are already aligned with Sports Interaction.
Lalani said BetRegal was involved in partnership talks with with TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, and MLSE in the province, but decided to bow out due to the “shockingly high” asking prices.
Commitment to charity and responsible gaming
Giving back to the community is important to BetRegal, its executives say. The operator recently ran a CFL Community MVP campaign, which gave the public the opportunity to submit stories about how local community members have been doing great things throughout the pandemic in all nine CFL communities. Winners got a $5,000 (CAD) donation to the charity of their choice and season tickets for their home markets.
Is there a difference-maker in your community?
@betregal wants YOU to nominate your Community MVP, and they could win 1 of 9 $5,000 prizes to donate to an organization of their choice!
NOMINATE 👉 https://t.co/qF4aIkguKe#CFL pic.twitter.com/nNluhZoot3
— CFL (@CFL) September 28, 2021
As an extension of its PGA of Canada sponsorship, BetRegal has signed young Canadian golfer Noah Steele to a deal. The 24-year-old hails from Kingston, Ontario, and is an up-and-comer on the PGA Tour’s Latinoamerica circuit and PGA Tour Canada.
“Golf won the COVID lottery,” Lalani said. “We’re looking to invest in rising stars with our sponsorships. We don’t want advertising vehicles like on [ice] rink boards.”
BetRegal will be using a “birdie tracker” for Noah and will donate $100 to the charity of the golfer’s choice each time he birdies on tour.
Responsible gambling is also a priority for BetRegal, which has built-in proactive player protection software that looks for problem gambling habits.