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The National Hockey League (NHL) is scheduled to announce that the league will enter into a gaming partnership that would make the NHL the first major sports league to have a formal partnership involving gambling. The official announcement is expected to come during an 11:00 AM press conference on Monday in New York.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has long seen a potential benefit to the League from legalized sports betting. In May, Bettman told CNBC, “In terms of creating more interest and opportunities for states, for the federal government, for casinos … and for sports leagues, while the future is uncertain, I think there’s a fair amount of opportunity if it’s done right.”
In July, Bettman said that the NHL should get a share of revenue gained from betting on games, saying “From our standpoint, we believe that, whether its our intellectual property, our data, whether its video of our game, we have important assets and if somebody is going to avail themselves or want to avail themselves of those assets in order to conduct their business, then we’re going to need to have a negotiation.”
The NHL has decided to dive head-first into the sports betting business. Official partnership(s) to be announced at a Monday morning press conference in New York. Word I’m hearing is “we’re going all in.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 26, 2018
According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, the announcement will be about creating partnerships with third parties who will run the programs.
The league sent a short media advisory to reporters regarding the press conference. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is the only scheduled speaker for Monday morning’s announcement.
The NHL has announced commissioner Gary Bettman will make an announcement regarding sports betting at a press conference on Monday at 11 am ET.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) October 26, 2018
The NHL took their first step into the sports betting business in 2014, when it partnered with DraftKings to make it the official daily fantasy sports game of the NHL and allowed DraftKings the exclusive use of the NHL’s intellectual property.
Teams such as the Vegas Golden Knights and the New Jersey Devils made marketing deals with bookmarker, William Hill, as of late. The Golden Knights included in-game activations and advertisements in T-Mobile Arena. The Devils included a William Hill lounge with the company’s odds displayed around Prudential Center.
Sports betting is legal in Canada and each province can set its own laws, but bets on single games are not allowed. Instead, gamblers can only make parlay bets which involve 3 or more games (or 2 games if betters are wagering on point spreads). Bettors have to get each game correct to have a winning ticket.
In the United States, sports betting has historically been limited to Nevada under a Federal law barring states from passing new laws on sports gambling. New Jersey challenged the Federal law and the Supreme Court ruled in May that the Federal law violated the 10th Amendment, which guarantees to the States all rights not enumerated in the Constitution to the Federal government. Following the Supreme Court decision, several states moved quickly to legalize sports betting.
On June 5, 2018, Delaware passed a law allowing single-game betting at three casinos. Less than a week later, New Jersey enacted legislation to allow sports betting. In August, Mississippi and West Virginia joined the fray. Earlier this month, a New Mexico casino took advantage of the state’s gaming compact with Nevada to begin accepting sports bets. ESPN has a site that tracks action at the state level to allow sports betting.
Closer to home, there have been some discussions about sports betting in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Maryland already allows gambling on slots and table games, and the state’s casinos have been a large source of jobs and revenues for the state, but efforts to move quickly to legalize sports betting have stalled. Legislation was introduced in the state earlier this year to establish a task force to study the issue but no action on the bill occurred this year. In March, the Maryland House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to put a referendum on the issue on the ballot, but the measure was not considered in the Senate. Shortly after the Supreme Court decision, leaders of the General Assembly expressed interest in a special session to consider the issue but Governor Larry Hogan declined to call them into session. Hogan has supported the ability of states to allow sports betting, but the issue has not been debated during this year’s race for governor. An analysis by General Assembly staff estimated that sports betting could raise between $14 million and $180 million for the state.
No legislation was introduced in Virginia this year, but Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne speculated that 2019 would see action on the issue, citing the potential revenue for the state. “You’re going to see a big push in the General Assembly session, probably the beginning of this year,” Layne said at a July 11 public lottery meeting. In fact, State Delegate Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church) told Washington’s Fox 5 television station that he intends to introduce a bill in January to legalize sports gambling. Governor Ralph Northam has not weighed in on the issue.
Washington may be the first local jurisdiction to act on the issue. In September, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans introduced a bill to allow sports betting in the District that would levy a 10 percent tax on gross receipts from betting operations. Evans held a hearing on the issue just last week and hopes to have legislation enacted next year.
Evans has said it’s important for the District to act quickly, arguing “We can be first and get a lot of money or 51st and not get any.” District and Virginia residents have taken advantage of the MGM National Harbor Casino in Prince George’s County, and Evans and other area officials have expressed regret that money from their jurisdictions is going to Maryland.
Evans has support from a majority of the DC Council as well as Mayor Muriel Bowser. John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff, said that, “The Mayor supports Councilmember Evans’ efforts to make sports betting a viable revenue source for our growing needs. Sports betting can help us fund critical programs, create jobs for District residents and allow visitors and commuters to further participate in our economy.”
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has been a long-time proponent of sports betting and has said “I think it will be a game of skill, just like you can be a day trader — you can be at Goldman Sachs, making billion-dollar bets on companies” and that gambling inside American venues “will not be an oddity; that will be standing operating procedure.”
“I try not to call it gambling. Gambling to me sounds like rolling the dice, not knowing what the outcome is,” Leonsis said. “And gamification, powered by big data, you have all of the information that you need to make a very, very reasoned decision.”
Ted Leonsis: “I think [sports betting] will be a game of skill, just like you can be a day trader — you can be at Goldman Sachs, making billion-dollar bets on companies.” by @RickMaese https://t.co/dvGPxZysIA
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) October 2, 2018
Here are the odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2019 from Vegas Insider:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||8/1|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||8/1|
|San Jose Sharks||12/1|
|Vegas Golden Knights||14/1|
|New Jersey Devils||25/1|
|St. Louis Blues||25/1|
|Los Angeles Kings||28/1|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||33/1|
|New York Islanders||66/1|
|New York Rangers||66/1|
|Detroit Red Wings||150/1|
By Harrison Brown