OLG Scraps Rebranding Plans as Ontario Parliament Questions Costs Involved

Written By Janice Doughtrey

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) second re-branding plan was cut short by the Ontario Legislative Assembly, after inquiries about costs revealed that such plans entailed spending a significant amount of taxpayer’s money. Under the Ontario government’s 5-year plan for revitalizing the province’s horseracing, the OLG received a mandate to leverage its expertise in strengthening and in giving support to Ontario’s horseracing businesses, including conducting research pertaining to the introduction of horse-themed lottery products.

Although oversight of the province’s horseracing business has been transferred to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO), any changes that the OLG will carry out in partnership with the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) will require approval of the Ontario Legislative Assembly. However, reports coming from Queen’s Park disclosed that Members of the Parliament considers OLG’s new rebranding plan as too costly, to an extent exceeding the CA$6 million spent in 2006 also for rebranding, and therefore deemed as not feasible.

The document containing the OLG proposal to rebrand and redesign its logo anew carried the slogan, “Refresh OLG’s brand.”

Refreshing the new brand, however, only succeeded in refreshing an old wound so to speak, as many in Ontario recall OLG’s first rebranding action in 2006. An estimated CA$6 million was spent in relation to the reworking of OLG’s labels and logo, after the provincial lottery entity decided to drop the “C” (Corporation) from its insignia.

Although back then, things were different since the OLG had the support of the McGuinty government. Ontario government and OLG officials, led by Premier McGuinty had argued that re-designing the OLG logo would symbolize Ontario’s rejuvenation in a modern era. They asserted that labels were declarations of new identities serving as tools of public education. However, the logo re-designing deal also reeked of favored advertising contracts under the McGuinty administration.

After all, rebranding had cost more than redesigning the logo itself but also involved replicating and replacing the old logo in all OLG buildings, including authorized, affiliated, and designated outlets, vehicles and related assets throughout the province of Ontario.

Currently, the OLG’s second, but aborted rebranding initiative came under a new cloak, this time as OLG’s fresh mandate of reviving Ontario’s horseracing industry. The proposed name change would have been funded by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s pledge of $500 million as financial support to the industry over a five-year period. Collaborating with the OLG is the OHRIA, which has a mandates to:

  • develop options for imp[roving the horse-racing industry’s self-governance;
  • explore opportunities for enhancing advancements in pari-mutuel betting;
  • build the industry’s capability to partner effectively with the OLG;
  • establish measures that ensure accountability in the use of taxpayer’s money;
  • Provide the OLG with advice on non-regulatory transition; and consider issues relevant to the horseracing industry’s integration into OLG.

Last Thursday, OLG’s official spokesperson Tony Bitonti came out with an announcement that the OLG will no longer pursue plans of changing its name as part of strategies to help improve the horseracing industry. The plan was embodied in one of OLG’s April-documents, which stated that based on consultation with those involved in the horserace business, the plan is to refresh the OLG brand with a view to include horse racing. According to Mr. Bitonti, OLG will use its marketing expertise instead, in exploring a brand that can effectively target consumer and provide support in sustaining Ontario’s horse racing industry.

Categories OLG