Gary Bettman says NHL wants cut of gambling action

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If the NHL is going to have any of its intellectual property, data or game video used for gambling business, the league wants a piece.

Appearing on the latest episode of “PodcastOne Sports Now” with Associated Press sports writer Larry Lage, Commissioner Gary Bettman said those wanting to involve the NHL will have to negotiate a deal.

“We’ve historically been opposed to extending sports betting on our game, and, emotionally, I don’t think that’s changed,” said Bettman. “However, it is a fact of life in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and it’ll be up to states to decide whether or not they’re going to enact sports betting.

“From our standpoint, we believe that that whether it’s our intellectual property or data, whether it’s video of our game, we have important assets. And if somebody is going to avail themselves or want to avail themselves of those assets in order to conduct their business, then we’re going to need to have a negotiation.”

In May, the Supreme Court opened the door for states to legalize betting on sports, breaking a longtime ban and creating a potential financial boon for states and the gambling industry. 

Despite opposition from the major sports leagues and the Trump administration, the high court struck down a federal law that had barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. States that want to take advantage of the ruling now will generally have to pass legislation to allow sports books to open.

Bettman was also asked about a potential NHL work stoppage, which could happen in a year’s time as the league and NHL Players’ Association each have an opt out. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement runs until September 2022.

“It takes two sides to avoid a labor dispute,” Bettman said. “Whether or not it’s a strike or a lockout, it’s the same thing. It just means you haven’t been able to reach an agreement.”

With files from the AP

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.