Northern Exposure: PointsBet Executive To Step Down For Major Curling Venture, Raptors’ Porter Could Face Lifetime Ban

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada and highlights upcoming events.

Our top stories this week

Event of the week

The Masters – April 11-14

Professional golf’s first major of the season, the Masters, is officially underway at Augusta National Golf Club.

Scottie Scheffler is the big outright favourite to claim his second career Green Jacket with +500 odds at BetMGM before the start of the tournament.

Four Canadians — Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor, and Mike Weir — are in the field this week. Conners has an excellent track record at Augusta, finishing in the top 10 in three of the past four years. Weir, of course, won the 2003 Masters to put Canada on the map from a golf perspective, but he’s cut just once in his past nine attempts at the event.

And we can’t talk about the Masters without checking in on Tiger Woods, who closed with +12500 odds to win the tournament. BetMGM says money has been pouring in on Tiger leading up to Thursday and he’s one of the sportsbook’s biggest liabilities this week. He’s seeking his sixth Green Jacket but has been battling various injuries for the past few years.

Sulsky leaving PointsBet

Chief Commercial Officer of PointsBet Canada, Nic Sulsky, is stepping down from his role with the operator to help launch The Curling Group, a new sports business venture group that has purchased ownership and operations of the Grand Slam of Curling from Sportsnet.

Sulsky will serve as CEO of the new venture group and will be working alongside curling legends Jennifer Jones and John Morris and former NFL player Jared Allen.

He wrote the following post on his LinkedIn page earlier this week.

I have been a builder my whole career. From kid’s television shows and docu-content production to fantasy sports and iGaming start-ups, I have always tried to push the envelope. To disrupt. To build brands. To entertain…

And today, my career takes another rocking step forward 🥌

After an incredible journey of nearly 3 years at PointsBet, I share today very bittersweet news that I’m embarking on a new adventure. As I transition out of my role, I want to express my total confidence in PointsBet’s continued success. It has been an honour to work alongside a team of exceptional and passionate individuals who have become much more than teammates – they’ve become lifelong friends. Special thanks to Scott Vanderwel and Sam Swanell – the things I’ve learned about leadership from you both will pay lifetime dividends.

Sulsky orchestrated several strategic partnerships with Curling Canada and various Canadian curling teams on PointsBet’s behalf ahead of the operator launching its online products in Ontario’s regulated igaming market in April 2022. He also played a key role in developing Curling Canada’s newest championship, the PointsBet Invitational, an innovative annual single-elimination bracket tournament (just like March Madness).

PointsBet also secured a major partnership under Sulsky with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), which owns the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argonauts, and Toronto Maple Leafs, among other entities.

Best of luck in your new role, Nic!

theScore Bet’s jersey swap

Ontario igaming operator theScore Bet will be hosting a Toronto Blue Jays jersey swap event benefitting Jays Care at Stackt Market (28 Bathurst St. near the Rogers Centre) in Toronto from April 12-14.

Blue Jays fans aged 19 and older can exchange any professional sports jersey (one per person) that is in fair condition for a new trademarked Blue Jays jersey with a minimum $30 contribution to the Jays Care Foundation. Fans can elect to customize their new jerseys onsite for an additional $15.

There will be fan engagement activities, including a live DJ, video game setup, on-site prizing and more. You do not have to be a theScore Bet user to attend or participate in the jersey swap.

theScore Bet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PENN Entertainment, is the exclusive online gaming partner of the Blue Jays.

Jontay Porter could face lifetime NBA ban

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver revealed Wednesday that Jontay Porter could face a lifetime ban from the league if the gambling-related accusations against him are true.

“I have an enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver told reporters after a Board of Governors meeting. “But it’s a cardinal sin, what he’s accused of in the NBA, and the ultimate, extreme option I have is to ban him from the game. That’s the level of authority I have here. Because there’s nothing more serious, I think, around this league when it comes to gambling: betting on our games. And that is a direct player involvement. And so, the investigation is ongoing, but the consequences could be very severe.”

The Toronto Raptors forward is under investigation by the NBA due to multiple prop betting irregularities relating to two games he played in on Jan. 26 and March 20.

Porter left the first of those contests with an eye injury and the second due to illness, which allowed the under to cash on his player props. DraftKings Sportsbook, which widely distributes daily sports betting insights to members of the media including Canada Sports Betting, reported on both of those occasions that his player props were suspiciously highly profitable for bettors. This betting activity triggered an integrity alert so now the league is looking into the legitimacy of Porter’s removals from both games. Betting irregularities relating to Porter’s props were also reportedly found at FanDuel.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is also closely following the situation and will determine via its Ontario Provincial Police enforcement branch whether a criminal investigation for match-fixing is warranted.

Porter has been scratched from the Raptors’ roster due to personal reasons since the allegations surfaced. He likely won’t see the court again this season as the team has just three games remaining.