If there was ever any optimism that the current ticket drive in Las Vegas to bring an NHL expansion team to Sin City would have an effect on the league’s stance regarding legalized sports betting, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly squashed those hopes rather emphatically.
According to Yahoo! Canada, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s right-hand man wrote a letter to Windsor, Ont. Member of Parliament Brian Masse, expressing the league’s stance on Bill C-290 and how passage of the bill is something that “we do not favor.”
Daly’s letter to Masse was actually a response to an earlier letter (haven’t these guys heard about an e-mail?) Masse sent the league in an effort to persuade Bettman and company to get behind the move to allow single-sports betting for Canadians.
“Single event sports betting already exists in a major way,” Masse wrote back in January. “My preference would be to see those revenues supporting important social programming like health-care, education and gaming addiction programs.”
Masse is one of a handful of lawmakers that have championed for the passage of Bill C-290, which has already been approved in the House of Commons but has remained idle in the Canadian Senate. Should the bill pass, it would amend the existing Criminal Code that currently allows parlay betting on a minimum of two games.
The support of the NHL would’ve been an invaluable asset for supporters of the bill, largely because the league is the biggest professional sports league in Canada for painfully obvious reasons.
Unfortunately for Masse and the rest of C-290 supporters, the NHL isn’t budging. Daly reiterated the league’s stance that single-game sports betting would “compromise the reputation and integrity of the NHL’s product, and could seriously undermine our fans’ trust and confidence in honest competition.”
“If single-game sports betting becomes a publicly fostered and sponsored institution, then the very nature of sports in North America (including the National Hockey League) will change, and we fear it will be changed for the worse.”
If only the NBA was bigger in Canada…