The still nameless NHL expansion team in Seattle, Washington may be missing its identity, but it isn’t missing any of the action. The Oak View Group (OVG), the lead backer of the team, has put together a partnership between NHL Seattle and a local casino and the arrangement could prove to expand the NHL in more ways than one. Not only does the NHL get another team in the league, but it could be getting a new sports gambling channel.
The Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Washington State is now a sponsor of the team. Representatives from both organizations got together yesterday at KeyArena, which is currently undergoing a massive $930-million renovation, to announce and celebrate the deal. Muckleshoot is the first official casino of the expansion team and the arena, and will be the named sponsor of all power plays, provide advertise around the arena and maintain a luxury suite at the venue, according to a report by the Seattle Times.
The arrangement will prove invaluable for Muckleshoot, as it gives it a lot of exposure. That will be important, as the venue is spending millions on its own renovation project that includes a new events center and hotel with 400 keys. It is expected to be complete about the same time as the KeyArena renovation, currently scheduled for some time during the summer of 2021.
Muckleshoot GM Conrad Granito predicts that the amount of daily traffic at the casino will increase between 10%-20% because of the agreement and expects to see a sports gambling component introduced as a result of the arrangement. He adds:
“I think the partnership is one where you see a lot of tribes and gaming entities have partnerships either directly with teams or directly with leagues. So, I think that tie-in just becomes a natural as we move forward with this. So clearly, with the NHL, our relationship just helps solidify that, and our position within the sports-betting network that we project is going to be here in Washington.’’
Sports gambling is still illegal in Washington, but it may not be that way for much longer. Lawmakers in the state are steadily working on sports gambling legislation in hopes to join a growing list of states across the country that are starting to generate more revenue following sports gambling legalization.