The NHL Will Allow Las Vegas Golden Knights To Have Deals With Casinos Featuring Sportsbooks

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The NHL will allow its new Las Vegas franchise to have sponsorship deals with casinos that have sports betting, according to the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated.

The latest on the NHL in Las Vegas

The nugget from SI is apparently a change in policy for the hockey league, which has generally been opposed to legal sports betting in the US and Canada.

Here’s what the SI story had to say about the Las Vegas Golden Knights, which start play next season:

MGM may co-own T-Mobile Arena, but no gambling references will appear on-site, and there will be no betting kiosks on the concourse.

Still that won’t stop the team from signing sponsorships with casinos that have sports books. The NHL indicated in December it would allow such arrangements; advertisements are subject to league approval, provided that sports betting isn’t explicitly referenced and that the ads don’t appear online next to game scores.

“For us, it opens Vegas’s main industry to sponsorships, which had been closed,” one Golden Knights official says. “It’s a big deal.”

Of note: Daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel have been advertising in NHL arenas for several years. (At some point, however, the NHL took a more tepid approach to DFS; it’s not clear if that policy is still in effect.)

The NHL, more like the NFL than other pro sports leagues

The NHL broke the ice — pun intended — on pro sports going to the gambling hub in the US with its new franchise. Las Vegas also happens to be in the one state in the US where single-game sports betting is legal.

The presence of Nevada sports betting didn’t stop the NHL from entering the state. The NFL also got over its qualms about Vegas, as its owners recently voted to move the Oakland Raiders to Sin City.

But the fact that both leagues are moving to Vegas runs counter to the fact that both still oppose the legalization of sports betting.

Major League Baseball and the NBA are far more advanced on their sports betting positions than the Vegas-bound leagues. The former continually appears to be moving toward advocating for regulation, while the latter has been doing so for some time.

Will there be bets on Golden Knights games?

The SI story also touched on betting on the new NHL franchise, but offered no new insight.

There’s a chance that the league asks Nevada regulators to force sportsbooks to take action on the Vegas team off the board. The deadline to make such a request is 30 days before the Knights’ first game. Nevada sportsbooks, for their part, are optimistic that they will be able to offer wagers on the NHL team.

The NFL indicated it is not likely to make such a request, but the NHL has been mum, thus far. And it’s not clear if the state would even grant such a request, as it holds up its regulatory scheme for sports betting as good for game integrity.