And though it might seem insignificant today, Las Vegas’ new NHL franchise could be a tipping point in America’s endless discussion over regulated sports betting.
Late last week, the NHL announced that its latest expansion franchise would be awarded to Las Vegas. That broke with a decades old, and completely unwritten, rule that the presence of legal sports betting in Sin City would somehow make its pro sports team more prone to game-fixing.
While Las Vegas residents are ecstatic about the prospect of a home town sports franchise, residents of the cities that were bypassed in favor of them weren’t quite so happy.
In Quebec, which was in consideration and hasn’t had a team since the Nordiques left in the 1990′s MP Brian Maase was particularly incensed by the snub saying that the NHL was, “…moving into the lion’s den of sports betting across the globe.”
He also mentioned that the NHL, “turned their backs, thumbed their nose and stuck out a finger at legislators here in Canada, because they’re doing this in Vegas and perpetuating their own profits at the expense of Canadian hockey,” according to a report on CalvinAyre.com.
NHL players, on the other hand, were pretty excited on hearing the news that Vegas would be on their 2017 schedule, despite the 24/7 distractions if offers. Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, however, isn’t too worried:
There’s distractions anywhere you go. Guys are professionals and I don’t think it’s going to be any different or be pulling guys any harder in any other city.
Finally there’s the question about a Vegas-based professional sports team means to the national debate over regulated sports betting.
It’s just possible that, maybe, if an NHL team can somehow manage to operate successfully in Sin City – despite the presence of regulated sports betting – government regulators will be more open to idea of legalizing sports betting everywhere.
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