The NHL is voicing its concern with a proposed bill that would legalize betting on individual games in Canada.
Currently the country’s Criminal Code only allows wagering on three or more games at a time.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly will appear before a Senate committee on Nov. 8 to explain the league’s position. Presumably, he’ll argue that betting on individual games hurts the integrity of the NHL (and other leagues) by raising the likelihood of match fixing. And if not the actual likelihood, the perceived likelihood of it.
Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston put it this way: “Losing bettors and fans… may in turn become suspicious of every strikeout or error, and the game’s integrity would be open to question — play by play, day after day.”
Supporters of the bill contend that billions of dollars in wagers are already placed online at offshore sports books and through illegal bookies. If anything, regulated betting should alleviate concerns about match-fixing.
The leagues do have one hammer to swing, and that’s the threat of re-thinking future expansion. Toronto, for example, is a candidate for a second NHL team and, down the line, maybe even an NFL franchise. There’s also been talk of the NHL returning to Quebec City and, to a lesser degree, the NBA trying again in Vancouver.