SBD/March 18, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Lobbying Against Single-Game Sports Bets In Canada; Atlantic City Trying Fantasy Betting

The NHL over the last 12 months has “spent time lobbying the Canadian government to kill a proposed change to the criminal code that would see single-game sports betting legalized across the country,” according to Scott Mitchell of the CALGARY SUN. A bill that was “once seen as a slam dunk, could now be on thin ice.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly last week wrote in an e-mail, “We are strongly opposed to the bill, and we have made that position clear to the Senate.” One former NHLer said that he has “never gambled on hockey -- even now -- but sees no reason why people shouldn’t be allowed to place a bet.” But technically, sports betting is “already legal” in Canada. Gamblers, depending on the province, “can head to the corner store and place a parlay bet on a minimum of two or three teams -- two on point spread, three on moneyline wagers -- and walk out with ticket in hand.” The former player said, “I played 15 years and never heard any guys talk about gambling on hockey games. I think hockey is too hard to gamble on, because a hot goalie can change a game.” Canadian Sen. Bob Runciman “pointed to the fact both the NHL and NFL have looked into expansion overseas, where single-game sports betting has been legal for years in many places” (CALGARY SUN, 3/17).

FANTASY POINTS: The AP’s Wayne Parry reported New Jersey is “allowing casinos in Atlantic City to offer fantasy sports betting in a pilot program that will be announced” today. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement has “told casinos it will allow them to accept entry fees from gamblers and pay out winnings from the casino cash cages.” The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (IMEGA) said that it “expects that players will be allowed to draft a pool of athletes, follow their performances and compete against other fantasy teams.” Those with the “best statistical totals will win cash.” IMEGA President Joe Brennan “could not offer an opinion as to whether fantasy sports betting would decline in popularity if New Jersey prevails in its court battle with the federal government and the four major professional sports leagues over whether it can legally offer sports betting” (AP, 3/16).
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