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Best of Howard Stutz

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Howard Stutz
 

Bettman: NHL may soon have to address legal sports betting

11 February 2015

LAS VEGAS -- The National Hockey League has not taken a position on legalizing sports wagering, but it’s an issue it may have to address, league Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday in Las Vegas.

“We’re not as big a factor in betting as football or basketball,” said Bettman, 62, following prepared remarks at the MGM Grand Las Vegas during the launch of a ticket deposit drive for a Las Vegas NHL franchise.

His remarks come several months after National Basketball Commissioner Adam Silver wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece the league should reconsider its opposition to expansion of legal sports gambling.

Last week, new Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN the sport needs to give “fresh consideration” to legal betting.

Bettman said he has not spoken with other professional sports league commissioners about a move toward legalized and regulated sports wagering. However, he said the issue might have to be addressed by the NHL Board of Governors if Las Vegas is awarded an expansion franchise.

“We’re in such a preliminary stage that it’s not something that we have needed to focus on,” Bettman said.

Asked if Nevada sports books should be allowed to place lines on a Las Vegas-based NHL team, Bettman said the issue hasn’t been considered.

“That’s something we will have to discuss at the appropriate time if we get to that point,” Bettman said.

The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, allows sports wagering only in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. The other three states offer only small-stakes betting through parlay cards or a lottery.

New Jersey has been attempting to legalize sports wagering, but has been blocked in federal court by the four major professional sports leagues, including the NHL.