The National Hockey League doesn’t give a damn whether Nevada sportsbooks take wagers on its new Las Vegas expansion franchise.
One year ago, the NHL announced that its newest franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, would be slapping on the skates in time for the puck dropping on the 2017-18 season. Under Nevada gaming regulations, the league had 30 days before the start of the season to request that the state’s sports betting operators expunge the Knights’ games from their betting slate.
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that the NHL had declined to make such a request, and thus Nevada residents and visitors to the state will be able to legally wager on the Knights when their season commences against the Dallas Stars on October 6.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN that the league was focused on “making sure we get equitable treatment with the NFL in terms of how teams are dealt with on the book.” Daly said the league had had discussions about betting with the team and with MGM Resorts (which owns the arena in which the Knights will play), and “there may be some steps done in respect to that, but we didn’t feel like it was an appropriate time to make the global request.”
It’s quite the turnaround from two years ago, when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insisted that the league didn’t want fans “rooting for anything other than the team that they love … to win.” Around the same time, Daly was telling Canadian politicians that the league’s braintrust “do not favor” legal single-game betting north of the 49th parallel.
The NHL, along with the NFL, NBA and the NCAA, also continues to oppose New Jersey’s efforts to expand legal single-game betting outside Nevada’s borders, a fight that is awaiting its date with destiny before the US Supreme Court later this year.
While MGM has no plans to install a sportsbook or betting kiosks at T-Mobile arena, fans can easily bet from the stands during games via any number of mobile betting apps on offer from the state’s licensed gaming operators. So strap on your skates, Gordie, you’re going in.