Bettman Addresses NHL Betting Concerns In Las Vegas

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NHL betting

Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed concern regarding the growing number of sports wagering scandals in major North American professional leagues, which included one NHL betting ban. 

Last season, Shane Pinto received a 41-game suspension for violating NHL betting policy. The NHL, which has embraced gambling much like MLB, NBA and NFL, held its draft in Las Vegas for the first time this weekend. 

Last week, the Chicago Blackhawks picked Circa Sports as their official home jersey patch partner.

Bettman: Legalized betting works

Bettman explained in an interview with CNBC Friday that the legalized market has helped catch wrongdoers. 

“What’s happened with legalized gambling is that the monitoring of betting, which it was going on illegally (before), is much more rigorous,” Bettman said. “We’ve had one incident, and it had nothing to do with betting on our games. It had to do with not adhering to the protocols that the online companies want you to adhere to. And we disciplined the player. 

“But it’s about education, and we have complete confidence in our personnel, players, officials. … And it really hasn’t been an issue for us, and we’re intent on making sure that it’s not an issue. But the difference between legalized and non-legalized just means we have a better opportunity to supervise and monitor what’s going on.” 

Spokesperson on NHL betting remarks

 Asked about Bettman’s comment, an NHL spokesperson told LSR

“Our rules are pretty simple: Players, Coaches, Staff and anybody employed by our League or Clubs can’t wager on NHL games. Otherwise, they must follow the rules of local authorities and any legal wagering companies. Their respective rules are myriad, such as geographic restrictions, prohibition about sharing account info, etc.” 

Details on NHL betting ban still unclear

The exact details surrounding Pinto’s ban, likely due to a negotiated settlement, remain unclear. 

The Ottawa Sun reported that Pinto’s US online gambling account was flagged for unusual activity. A third party was involved, per TSN

The NHL said that it found no evidence that Pinto wagered on any NHL games. 

How NHL is combating future scandals

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told LSR last October, following the Pinto ban, that he was comfortable with the league’s betting policy

Furthermore, the NHL Players Association conducted a fall tour, enhancing gambling education efforts. 

“We already have a comprehensive education program,” Daly told LSR 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.” 

Photo by Associated Press