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The Trailer Park Boys have joined the sports betting marketing blitz as Ontario prepares to open its legal single-event wagering market to private competition.
While the main characters of the popular television and movie mockumentary series are best known for conducting business outside of the law, PointsBet Canada has tapped the show's characters Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles as exclusive partners to help the Australia-based company (PBH.AX)(PBTHF) make an authentically Canadian debut in Ontario’s legal market.
“Everything will be totally legal, which is a new thing for Ricky and Julian,” Mike Smith, the Canadian actor who plays Bubbles, stated in a news release on Friday.
PointsBet Canada says a multi-year agreement will see the Trailer Park Boys appear in its advertising campaigns, activations, and special VIP-style events. The deal comes as foreign-owned sports books race to tap into the psyche of the nation’s sports fans ahead of what analysts predict will be a heated battle for market share in Canada’s largest province.
Ricky, played by Robb Wells, whose dedication to ball hockey runs so deep that he once intentionally returned to jail to play in a tournament with his fellow inmates, said he’s excited to meet “a bunch of our bestest [sic] in the world athletes.”
The trio are known for staying in character during interviews and media appearances.
PointsBet Canada’s collaboration with “the boys” follows its announcement on Monday of a multi-year marketing and licensing deal with the NHL Alumni Association that will also promote the company’s brand.
“Our mission from day one has been to build a sportsbook as authentically Canadian as poutine,” PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky added in the release. “Nothing says Canadiana more than the Trailer Park Boys.”
Canadian provinces gained the legal authority to allow single-event sports betting on Aug. 27, 2021. The law previously limited wagers to those spanning multiple events, prompting Canadian gamblers to place billions of dollars in bets on offshore websites.
Ontario had targeted the end of 2021 to launch its highly-anticipated competitive market for private sportsbooks. However, expectations within the industry have shifted to the first quarter of 2022.
So far, Alberta has been the only other province to entertain the idea of privatization. Most provinces, including the Trailer Park Boys’ native Nova Scotia, have limited legal sports betting to government-run lottery corporations.
In Ontario, private sportsbooks have already begun advertising free-to-play versions of their online betting platforms. Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming, which was acquired by Pennsylvania-based gaming and casino giant Penn National Gaming (PENN) in August, paid for a massive billboard in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square in June. Ties are forming with professional leagues as well. For example, the Canadian Football League has promoted BetRegal as its “official sport gaming partner.”
In the United States, celebrities including Wayne Gretzky, Shaquille O'Neal, and Ben Affleck have promoted major sports betting brands.
For the Trailer Park Boys, this isn’t their first crack at attempting to capitalize on a newly legal industry in Canada. The company behind the show, which often features cannabis use, teamed up with Moncton, N.B.-based pot producer Organigram (OGI.TO)(OGI) on a branded pot product that drew scrutiny from Health Canada due to strict rules on advertising.
Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.