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NHL opposes legislation that would expand legalized betting in Canada

Oct 31, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

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The NHL is voicing its concern with a proposed bill that would legalize betting on individual games in Canada.

Currently the country’s Criminal Code only allows wagering on three or more games at a time.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly will appear before a Senate committee on Nov. 8 to explain the league’s position. Presumably, he’ll argue that betting on individual games hurts the integrity of the NHL (and other leagues) by raising the likelihood of match fixing. And if not the actual likelihood, the perceived likelihood of it.

Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston put it this way: “Losing bettors and fans… may in turn become suspicious of every strikeout or error, and the game’s integrity would be open to question — play by play, day after day.”

Supporters of the bill contend that billions of dollars in wagers are already placed online at offshore sports books and through illegal bookies. If anything, regulated betting should alleviate concerns about match-fixing.

The leagues do have one hammer to swing, and that’s the threat of re-thinking future expansion. Toronto, for example, is a candidate for a second NHL team and, down the line, maybe even an NFL franchise. There’s also been talk of the NHL returning to Quebec City and, to a lesser degree, the NBA trying again in Vancouver.

  1. moose2k - Oct 31, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    The NHL only favors extinction at this time.

  2. elemeno89 - Oct 31, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    yea, like the biggest problem the NHL has when it comes to integrity is betting. not, you know, arguing and complaining about paying the players money that was already agreed too…

    • davebabychreturns - Oct 31, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Yeah I enjoy this line of reasoning.

      “If you allow single game bets, fans will start questioning the integrity of the league” and when we can’t come up with any answers we’ll really be in trouble..

  3. cweez2 - Oct 31, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    What are they going to bet on, Gary? The length of the lockout?

  4. bojangles83 - Oct 31, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    LOL “hurt the integrity of the game” I think the NHL owners have done that more damage in the last few months then betting would ever do.

    • id4joey - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      So! You guys just sound off for the sake of it even if your train of thought has nothing to do with the article. Brilliant! I can hardly wait to see what sort of comments will be posted when the season starts. “Crosby is a whimp!”, “Giroux is a girl”! So and so is a moron! Wow! So much insight to come. Trash talking!

  5. id4joey - Oct 31, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    The integrity of the game being referred to in this article is fixing games. Like the ‘Black Sox’ scandal in baseball. Nothing to do with the conflict. Word of advice, wait until the conflict is resolved to judge.

    • cweez2 - Oct 31, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Nooooo, really?!?!

    • paledevil - Oct 31, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      the fun part of your comment is that the “black sox ” were reacting to unfair practices by ownership

  6. kpickup - Oct 31, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Integrity of the league? What league?

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 31, 2012 at 7:18 PM

      What integrity?

  7. shaggydisco - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Wow, some real passion here. Does anyone mind if I comment on the article?
    Full disclosure: I work in the UK and run a regulated sports betting website.

    The only issue at play here is revenue. If the NFL, NHL, NBA etc. cannot figure out how to get a slice of the pie then they don’t want anyone to have their slice either.

    The integrity of sport is always improved when well regulated betting markets start working in conjunction with the league to identify and stamp out corruption. This is well documented in Europe. The current state of play is that these leagues turn a blind eye to corruption and pretend it doesn’t exist because it happens offshore. Kind of like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

    These arguements typically point to the bookmaker as the bad guys, however it should be noted that the bookmaker is the one who actually loses money through corruption of sport, and it is the (regulated) bookmakers who have to pay out the bets. NOT working with the betting industry and continuing to boycott a $15 billion on-line global sports betting market is the only thing that will ensure match fixing remains an issue.

    There is a simple solution. Bookmakers want a good, reputible source of live data and the leagues can provide this. There lies the basis for a commercial agreement between the leagues and the bookmakers. But the leagues always get greedy and try to charge more than the data is worth. So the bookmakers get data from other sources (data collectors in the stands, off the tv/radio, etc.). There is a market value for the data and the leagues should realise this. If they are really concerned about integrity then they should give the data away for free to bookmakers and insist that anyone using the data will work with the league to stamp out corruption in sport.

    Simple. But egos and politics never listen to simple market forces.

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