PointsBet Hires Former DFS Exec To Lead Canada Sports Betting Push

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Canada has not yet legalized single-game sports betting, but PointsBet is making moves.

The operator announced Thursday it hired former Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) president Nic Sulsky to lead its expansion into Canada.

Sulsky, a Toronto native, will be chief commercial officer for PointsBet Canadian operations, starting on Tuesday.

PointsBet has big goals for Canada

The hire is PointsBet’s first in Canada.

The company is aiming to build out a Canadian leadership team that “understands the unique Canadian sports landscape,” a release said.

“We hope this will be the first of many Canadian hires,” said Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO.

 Who is new PointsBet exec Nic Sulsky?

Prior to his role at MKF, Sulsky co-founded an in-game fantasy platform called InGamer. It launched in 2010 in partnership with CBC’s iconic Hockey Night in Canada. 

“I’m thrilled to be joining PointsBet,” said Sulsky in a statement. “This is an international company embracing what it means to be Canadian.

“Now that the legalization of single-game sports betting is close to final approval by the federal government, I’m looking forward to launching a truly Canadian platform that will not only provide good jobs in an exciting industry, but also offer Canadian fans an entertaining and engaging experience like no other.”

Positive momentum for Canada sports betting

The appointment comes just one day after a positive Canadian Senate hearing on sports betting bill C-218.

Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns said provincial lottery operators could be taking bets on single events by Labor Day.

The Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce will now produce a report prior to a potential third reading in the Senate.

Is there time to get Bill C-218 passed?

The Canadian Parliament wraps up its session at the end of June.

Should the Senate pass the bill, it needs to go back to the House of Commons for re-approval before going to the Governor General‘s office.

Despite the relatively tight timeline, Sen. Brent Cotter said there was a “better than 50-50 chance” of getting the bill passed.

Size of the prize

TheScore estimates online gaming revenues in Canada could reach between $3.8 billion and $5.4 billion annually.

Only around half of that is sports betting.  A large market also assumes the provinces allow a truly open Canada sports betting market.

Only Ontario has indicated it will so far. Other provinces could elect to maintain a lottery monopoly on sports betting.

Competition heating up

Regardless, it is not just PointsBet making moves in Canada.

DraftKings expanded its DFS deal with the NFL to Canada in a move designed to boost the operator’s profile north of the border.

And BetMGM today announced a partnership with The Hockey News that could also have some impact in Canada.