Compared to the amount of wagering that’s done on football and basketball, the amount that’s gambled on hockey is a paltry sum.
But with the NHL reportedly set to award an expansion team to Las Vegas, many have wondered if the league could seek to ban betting on the local team in Nevada’s casinos.
So far, there’s been no indication of that.
“I haven’t had any conversations with the NHL, and it would certainly be out of the ordinary if that were to occur,” A.G. Burnett, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, told the Las Vegas Sun on Tuesday. “It seems to me that a lot of the sports leagues are seeing that professional sports can thrive without any issues in a well-regulated betting environment.”
It’s worth noting that betting on Nevada’s college teams used to be banned, but that ban was lifted in 2001, allowing wagers to be placed on UNLV basketball and football.
If that’s allowed, bookmakers argue, why shouldn’t it be allowed for pro teams?
“If they were to entertain the idea of a betting restriction in the state of Nevada, that would be sending the wrong message,” Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay told the Review-Journal earlier this year. “That would indicate something is wrong with it, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. By accepting wagers on the Rebels for the past 15 years, that has been proven. There has not been a problem in 15 years.
“I would not be in favor of a restriction. It would be very hypocritical, not to mention it would be awkward to accept wagers on the local college team and not the local pro team. They are always talking about the integrity of the games, and they want the same thing we do. We want to protect the integrity of the games. A lot of people don’t realize it, but we’re on the same side.”
Kornegay was actually referring to a potential ban on NFL betting, should the Raiders move to Vegas, but his point stands for the NHL.
We’ll no doubt hear more about this topic next week when the NHL is expected to make expansion to Las Vegas official.