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Bob Weeks

TSN Senior Reporter

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Ready to wager a bob on B.C. to defeat Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts? Or how about Ontario to beat Northern Ontario at the Tim Hortons Brier?

With the federal government’s passage of Bill C-218 to allow legalized single-event sports wagering, curling is getting in on the action.

Curling Canada announced Wednesday it has signed a deal with PointsBet Canada to become the official sports betting partner of the organization. PointsBet Canada, the Canadian affiliate of global online gaming organization PointsBet, will begin offering innovative ways for curling fans to wager on Season of Champion events starting immediately. It will also become title sponsor of a Season of Champions event starting with the 2022-23 season.

“With the passing of legalized sports betting by the federal government this past summer, we knew that there would be many opportunities available for our sport to be part of a new, legal and regulated way for fans to enjoy our events,” said Katherine Henderson, chief executive officer of Curling Canada, in a release. “PointsBet’s track record speaks for itself, as the company has existing partnerships with a variety of highly regarded partners around the world, and we couldn’t be happier to enter into this new venture with an industry leader.”

Originally from Australia, where sports wagering is a more mature market, PointsBet is a cutting-edge bookmaker with a fast-growing operation in the United States where it has agreements with the NHL, NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB and the PGA Tour.

“As one of the only true Canadian operators, it was important for PointsBet Canada to partner with organizations deeply rooted in our nation’s identity,” said Scott Vanderwel, CEO of PointsBet Canada in the same release. “Our partnership with Curling Canada will not only support community-based sports but bring curling fans an unprecedented experience from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”

There has been some wagering on curling in the past, much of it through offshore companies in the previously grey area of legality for Canadians.

Olympic and Canadian champion Brad Jacobs recalls returning home to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., after winning the 2013 Canadian Curling Trials in an upset, a victory that made one person happy.

“We ran into a guy at our curling club and he told us that our win made him a lot of money,” Jacobs recalled. “So I guess he knew where to put his bet down. It was nice to make someone happy.”

Jacobs welcomed the arrangement with Curling Canada and PointsBet, seeing it as a way to draw more people into the game.

“Anytime we can have more partnerships and more people watching our sport, the better,” he stated.

Another company in the curling wagering area is CoolBet, which has been offering wagering on major curling events for several years. It’s also taken a position with a team sponsorship, backing John Epping’s rink.

“Anything that drives engagement with fans such as CoolBet is doing, is great for curling,” Epping said. “They’ve been a great partner for us and the game.”

CoolBet has also been taking some unconventional routes with its offerings. During last year’s Tim Hortons Brier, the Twitter account of Team Brendan Bottcher jokingly suggested CoolBet should offer odds on the rink finishing second in the Tim Hortons Brier for the fourth consecutive year. The wagering outfit took up the challenge and posted the odds. Bottcher ended up winning the Canadian championship.