Scott Vanderwel can smell the money.
The PointsBet Canada CEO has announced the Aussie-based sports wagering operator and iGaming provider will be a player in Ontario’s internet gaming market.
Beginning in December, registered private sector operators like PointsBet will be able to operate in the province.
In exchange, however, a cut of revenue will go to the government.
It’s a small price to pay, Vanderwel says.
“Like most markets, there will be five or eight players that have brand recognition and unaided awareness in this category. We intend to be one of them.”
Vanderwel returns to Canadian sports betting with insider info
Although working down under, Vanderwel is no stranger to Canada or its sports market.
He was born in Oakville, Ont., and ran Rogers Communications’ strategy office for years. He helped the company land a $5.2 billion deal in 2013 to gain NHL broadcasting rights. Because of that success, he has armed his PointsBet Canada team with a duo he knows can get the job done.
Nic Sulsky – Canadian gaming and fantasy sports veteran – is one. Dale Fallon – a former digital director for Rogers’ Sportsnet – is the other.
Currently, theScore is the top dog in the Canadian sports scene. The company has one of the most popular mobile apps for sports news and data.
It was acquired for roughly $2 billion in early August by Penn National Gaming (PENN).
“TheScore is a great media company. It’s learning to be a great sports betting company. PointsBet is a great sports betting company,” Vanderwel said.
“So I’d put our product against theirs any day.”
Vanderwel open to Rogers collaboration
Despite all the jockeying, Vanderwel remains open to cooperation with Rogers, his former employer and media heavyweight.
Rogers owns the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB). It also has a 37.5% stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). MLSE is the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA) and Toronto Argonauts (CFL).
“Obviously, Rogers and Bell are core media assets, an important component to anybody thinking about this space.”
The Ontario-native said he continues to have a “great relationship with Rogers professionally.” But he stopped short of declaring a potential partnership could be in the works.
Major sportsbooks eyeing Ontario market
Ontario is not a two-horse race, however.
Both firms have exploded after a 2018 US Supreme Court decision legalized commercial sports betting in many states.
Ontario is the only province currently scheduled to open its internet gaming market to competition.