Scott Vanderwel, the current chief executive officer of PointsBet Canada is quite optimistic about the company’s chances of success in Canada’s newly regulated sports betting market. The CEO claimed that the company is more than well-positioned and prepared to take on the challenge from competitors such as theScore about the launch in the country.
The CEO has plenty of experience on his resume as he has previously run the company’s strategy office and worked with Rogers Media president Keith Pelley. Mr. Vanderwel helped the company to acquire the rights for the broadcasting of NHL games in Canada in a stunning CA$5.2 billion deal. He will now have to put his expertise into the competitive sports betting market of Canada.
Ready for the Competition
PointsBet Canada is now well-prepared for the single-sports betting market of Canada and Ontario’s open online gaming market for private operators by the end of the year. Besides, Mr. Vanderwel, the company has also appointed gaming and fantasy sports veteran Nic Sulsky, and Dale Fallon, who is a digital product director for Rogers’ Sportsnet product.
Macquarie analyst Chad Beynon believes that theScore will have a tough time establishing itself in the local markets due to the fierce competition from big-name gaming operators in Ontario. The province is the first one in the country to launch an open market for industry operators, and its official start should be this December. It is expected that other provinces will follow the example.
Mr. Vanderwel said that theScore is a great media company, as now is learning to be a great sports company. However, he stated that he believes in the product of his own company and is willing to go head-to-head with them. He explained that as in most markets there will be five to eight companies with established brand and recognition, and PointsBet will be one of them.
When asked if his good relationship with Rogers Communications would mean any potential collaborations between them and the gaming company, Mr. Vanderwel said that this would be speculation only. He also believes that the new market offers a great prospect for the company and that there is an opportunity to create relationships and engage Canadian fans.
PointsBet appointed gaming veteran Mr. Sulsky to the position of chief commercial officer back in June as a way of preparing for the legalization of single-sports betting and the coming gaming expansion in the country. He has a rich resume, as the Toronto-born is the former president of Monkey Knife Fight, which was the third-largest daily fantasy sports operator in the US. He is also the co-founder of InGamer fantasy platform.
The official arrival of the single-sports betting option became reality when the federal government of Canada enacted Bill C-218 as a law. The legislation was previously passed at the Senate and it amends the Criminal Code to remove the prohibition on individual sports betting. The enactment was on August 28, 2021, and now the provinces will have to compile their own regulations on how the offering will work.
Source: Lagerquist, Jeff “PointsBet Canada CEO calls out theScore ahead of sports betting battle in Ontario”, Yahoo Finance, September 20, 2021