Deputy commissioner Bill Daly appears comfortable that players are informed on the NHL betting policies currently in place following the league’s first related suspension of the legal era.
On Thursday, Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto received a 41-game suspension for violating the NHL betting policy.
“We already have a comprehensive education program,” Daly told LSR Friday when asked if the league planned to beef up player education on gambling again in light of the ban. “I suppose we will review what we currently do to see if it can be improved (or needs to be), but I’m not overly concerned that players don’t understand what’s permitted and what’s not.”
However, the NHL Players Association has been doing a fall tour, and sources told LSR it will enhance its gambling education efforts.
Lack of information yields speculation
Details of Pinto’s infraction are unclear and are part of a negotiated settlement likely to include non-disclosure provisions.
“Well, I mean, there are rules and regulations in the collective bargaining agreement, and the league felt that there were issues that crossed the line,” Walsh said. “They did an investigation of the situation, and they came back, talking and working with the player, the league and the team, it was agreed upon that 41 games would be the penalty, if you will, for Shane’s actions.
“There’s a collective bargaining agreement, and there’s terms in the collective bargaining agreement. I’m not going to get into all the terms of what it states there, but clearly there were issues there that rose to the level of the commissioner getting involved and the union getting involved on behalf of the player.”
Sportradar, the NHL’s integrity partner, declined comment. A report by the Ottawa Sun said: “Pinto’s online gambling account in the United States was flagged by a company that is a partner of the league because of unusual activity and it contacted the NHL’s head office recently.”
TSN: Third party involved?
TSN reported the potential involvement of a third party. The league has been looking into it since the summer.
The outlet added that it’s a negotiated settlement, and commissioner Gary Bettman could have gone heavier with the punishment.
“This will be a shock to the system for players,” one NHL agent, whose agency has had internal discussions about the ban, told LSR. “But when you’re dealing with young people, you can never do enough education.”
NHL betting policy says no NHL wagers
The league stated it found no evidence that Pinto wagered on any NHL games.
Players cannot wager on NHL games, per league policy.
Players are able to wager on all other sporting events.
How NHL gambling education works
Walsh further detailed gambling education efforts in the report.
“I went to the rookie orientation camp this year for the first time, and they talked about gambling and the concerns with gambling,” Walsh told The Athletic.
“Not just in hockey but gambling in general. … The rookie orientation camp has an explanation of do’s and don’ts with gambling, and the NHLPA will be educating players moving forward as well. We’ve begun the fall tour here. We talk about it on the fall tour, and we’ll continue to talk to players about circumstances so they don’t get themselves into trouble.
NHL betting partnerships at a glance
The Senators signed a seven-figure sponsorship deal with Bet99 in 2021, Sports Business Journal reported, which allowed the sports betting operator to feature its logo on their helmets.
Two years ago, the NHL signed a 10-year deal with Sportradar to serve as its official data rights and integrity partner.