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NHL Alumni Association Files $1.1M Lawsuit Against PointsBet Canada

James Foglio
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The NHL Alumni Association is suing PointsBet Canada, “Ontario’s best new legal, regulated online bookmaker,” for $1.1 million. This comes after PointsBet Canada decided to end its sponsorship agreement with the charitable organization.

NHL Alumni Association alleges that PointsBet is required to continue paying for its sponsorship agreement until January 2026

In a lawsuit filed Jan. 18 in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto, the NHL Alumni Association said PointsBet is “obligated to continue paying for its sponsorship agreement until it ends on January 1, 2026, despite the government’s marketing restrictions.”

According to the lawsuit, PointsBet’s payment in the first year was $275,000 before dropping to $150,000 per year in subsequent years.

The alumni association and PointsBet initially signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement in January 2022 to provide the sportsbook exclusive marketing rights within North America to retired NHL players.

However, after the alumni association signed a contract extension with PointsBet in March 2023, the sports betting company was required to pay an annual license fee of C$160,000, which later increased to C$170,000. 

The lawsuit said that PointsBet “agreed to contribute money to a fund to pay players for their participation in marketing,” per TSN’s Rick Westhead. 

Alumni Association said its contract is binding, provided that the sponsor has a license to operate in Canada or the U.S.

After the “tighter marketing restrictions” on gambling advertising were announced in August 2023, PointsBet wrote to NHL Alumni Association President Glenn Healy on Nov. 10, 2023, informing him that the company “would terminate their agreement.” 

The alumni association alleges that its contract stated that it would be legally enforced as long as the sponsor has a license to operate in Canada or the U.S.

In PointsBet’s defense statement filed on March 22, the company wrote:

“The essence of the agreement was that PointsBet was paying for retired players to drive PointsBet’s gaming business by actively participating in the advertising and marketing of PointsBet’s brands.”

In February, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) updated its regulations to prohibit the use of “active or retired athletes” in advertising for online gambling. 

“Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to,” Tom Mungham, the AGCO’s registrar and CEO, said in a statement in August 2023.

“We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential [athletes] to promote online betting in Ontario.”

Sports betting was legalized in Canada in August 2021, allowing provinces to regulate it. It should be noted that sportsbooks can still feature athletes in ads that advocate “responsible gambling” practices. 

James Foglio
James Foglio

James is a dedicated sportswriter. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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