Big Bets in Online Gambling Space Marketing Require New Entrants to Understanding the Current Gambling Brand Trust Landscape

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Gambling is a lucrative Canadian industry. Collectively, Canadians wager $16-20 billion (CAD) a year through casinos, horse-racing, lotteries, and offshore sports betting operators like bet365.

The Canadian gambling industry boasts over $2 billion in annual operational revenue. Unsurprisingly, the space erupted with dozens of new players once private enterprise was invited into Canada’s online market.

OLG, Loto-Québec, and PlayNow – three provincial juggernauts – maintain strong trust positions with the public. Double-digit shares in consumer confidence illustrate strong heritage scores and a foundation of trust. Meanwhile, newcomers hover between 2-5%.

As a finance-adjacent brand category, traditional gaming conforms to the usual trend of having loyal consumers who are resilient against competitive alternatives. Loto-Québec demonstrates this principle with a 69% resilience score, commanding the strongest underlying trust metrics among the provincial agencies.

However, sports betting tells a different story.

bet365 is a legacy player that captures much of the “grey” market share and has translated its offshore popularity into the #1 trust position in Canadian online sports betting. Despite competition from government brands like PROLINE, bet365 has established and entrenched a dominant market position through robust brand resilience.

That resilience was earned. bet365 built its reputation with i) a solid foundation of value by offering better odds than government sites; ii) consumer peace of mind and security through customer service and longevity in the international grey market; and iii) strong marketing campaigns that focused on consumer recommendation-based strategies vs. pure authority and celebrity.

bet365 has also pushed the boundaries of advertising innovation by integrating dynamic betting odds into live sports broadcasts.

As the non-government element winning over Canadian consumers, bet365 is the living proof-of-concept that private enterprises can challenge and overcome government programs that survive on heritage and complacency. Other legacy brands with foundations in gambling and sports betting will need to adapt and retool their trust drivers to withstand the competitive landscape and grow their market share over the long term.

Finally, government operators should be wary of resting on their laurels. Values-based perceptions of government brands are surprisingly brittle.

If you would like to learn more about our trust study – or the consumer insights we have on over 1000 brands – please contact me at sboyer@brandspark.com.

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