With the change of opinion of the National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner, Gary Bettman, gambling won a new ally. While before he believed that allowing bets on hockey could be harmful to the sport, he now considers that there is much to explore in this new relationship.
Bettman cannot deny that through the game there is an opportunity to make a profit and during his presence at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, he wanted to explain why he decided to support sports betting.
“Whether or not I thought that sports betting 27 years ago was a good idea and intellectual and emotionally, I always had the concern of what we would do with sports. There is nothing wrong with jai alai or horse racing, but we are something different”, Bettman said accompanied by a panel of CEO Joe Asher of William Hill US, Greg Carlin of Rush Street Gaming and Matt King of FanDuel.
Anyway, bets at any time would reach hockey, regardless of Bettman’s personal opinion when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed. So it was not so difficult for him to change his perspective on betting.
“None of that really mattered once the Supreme Court ruled. And at that time, I felt it was our league’s obligation to seize the opportunity of sports betting to involve as many sports fans as possible and make sure our fans existing had a compelling experience if that was what they wanted to do”, said Bettman.
He added that this may represent “an opportunity to involve new fans who never focused on hockey.” He also took the opportunity to explain the leadership of the NHL in the professional sports game since 2015 and its expansion to Las Vegas with the arrival of the Golden Knights
“We were the first sports league (major league) to put a team in Las Vegas. We began to have a relationship for other reasons with MGM, and Jim Murren at that time receives many credits for encouraging us,” he added.
Bettman explained that now betting on the Golden Knights games is very easy and noted that with the expansion of gambling and the adoption of the future live tracking technology of the games that should be taken throughout the league.
“My people are telling me that we should climb in the 31 buildings certainly for the playoffs, if not before. It’s a work in progress. We were going to use it in the All-Star Game, mainly as a transmission upgrade, but they told me that At least we’ll be ready for the playoffs”, he said.
The NHL has not stopped increasing its income
The point is to create new sources of income not only to increase the popularity of the league through the game. He said that by opening statistics books to sports books, he hopes the league will benefit even more.
He added that
“we have not asked them yet, although MGM is entitled to that data when we do. At the end of the day, we will spend tens of millions of dollars to install it, and we will spend millions of dollars to operate it every year.”
He said that
“player tracking will create something like 200 data points per second, and the disk will create something like 2,000 data points per second. And if you are going to make props, you must have them in real time. This is something we are going to create, and the only way you can access it is through us.”
Bettman’s decisions to grow league profits have been questioned and are a source of debate for teams in the southern markets. The truth is that the income of the NHL has increased under his mandate, as has happened in almost all sports leagues. And this new relationship with sports betting suggests that such a trend will continue.