Will the NHL join the NBA in partnering with a gambling outfit?

NHL Schedules Sports Betting Announcement For Monday In New York City

NHL sports betting

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will reveal major sports betting news involving the league at a Monday news conference in New York City.

The league issued a brief media advisory Friday to alert reporters to the gathering at NHL headquarters in Manhattan. Bettman is the only scheduled speaker, according to the advisory.

The release offers no additional information about what the substance of the announcement will be. Bettman’s presence, however, indicates the news will be on a significant scale.

A well-connected hockey reporter tweets it could be an official league partnership:

Bettman talked sports betting at Stanley Cup Final

Legal Sports Report asked Bettman about the league’s stance on sports betting during the Stanley Cup Final in May in Las Vegas. He talked about both federal legislation and the integrity fee:

“We’re looking for consistency. Whether that can be done federally — which would make it easier to make sure (of) the rules of the game, the types of bets that are being placed, how things are being conducted — we’d like consistency and we’d like not to have it vary state-by-state.

“Now if all the states want to come together and do the same thing, that would be the equivalent of federal legislation and that’s something that we’re focused on …

“I’m not sure I buy the term ‘integrity fee’ — I don’t worry about the integrity of our players. I think, though, if you’re going to allocate for yourself to run a business on our intellectual property and the performance of our athletes and the platform that we put on for our games, we’re entitled to be involved in that.”

NHL already has a familiar sports betting partner

The league partnered with DraftKings during the daily fantasy sports heyday in 2014. The deal made DraftKings the official DFS game of the NHL and gave the league an equity position.

DraftKings of course became much more than a DFS company this year. Its rapid expansion into legal sports betting under the DraftKings Sportsbook label means the NHL might already be aligned with a wagering outfit.

Earlier this year, the NBA and MLB reportedly began exploring selling their equity stakes in FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively. Those reports surfaced just days after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA and opened the door to US sports betting.

Teams signed up with William Hill

DraftKings is not the only sports betting company with which the NHL is aligned, however. Two NHL teams inked marketing and promotion deals with bookmaker William Hill in recent months.

The Vegas Golden Knights agreed to their contract with William Hill in September. That sponsorship includes advertisements inside T-Mobile Arena and in-game activations.

William Hill

Credit: Adam Candee

The New Jersey Devils will take their partnership a step farther. Announced this week, the deal includes a William Hill-branded lounge inside the Prudential Center and Will Hill odds posted inside the arena. There will not be in-arena wagering, but the bookmaker can push its mobile app to potential customers.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly weighed in on team sponsorships two weeks after the PASPA decision:

“That is one of the things we’re looking at. Obviously the landscape has changed dramatically in the last ten days with sports gaming and what the rules should be. It’s one of the things we’ll take a look at. Obviously nothing is going to happen to the balance of this season but we’ll address what the rules are vis a vis our clubs over the summer.”

Adam Candee
- Adam Candee covers sports business and news from Las Vegas. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun and KLAS-TV.