The Golden Debate about the Golden Knights: How an NHL Team will Change the Rules of Sports Betting

Leicester City before the 2015/2016 season had a 5000/1 odds of winning the Champions league, which is the most prestigious soccer league that contains Europe’s top division soccer teams. Now to put those odds in perspective, if a person had simply put in £20 ($26.08) before the season they would have came away with £100,000 ($145,877) based on an article by Matthew Nitch Smith. Having 5000/1 odds are incredibly low. An ESPN article by Paul Carr states, “The longest preseason odds for any team to win the 2016 World Series were 500-to-1 for the Philadelphia Phillies.” That is substantial difference between the two. However that was all done in Europe. The United States has deemed sports betting illegal. But with the new Las Vegas NHL team, that plans to change.

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On June 22nd, the NHL announced they would award Las Vegas with an expansion team. This would add the 31st team to the NHL and the first expansion team since the 2000 when the Minnesota Wild joined the league. For joining the NHL Las Vegas would need to pay a fee of $500 million from owner Bill Foley. The United States has made all forms of sports betting illegal except in the states of: Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. In 1992 the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA was passed. The act states that it bans all forms of sports betting. This would include online sports betting and any other kind of sports betting.

An article by Dustin Gouker he states that $150 million were spent on illegal betting sites by Americans. Now the author also states, “The NHL has opposed sports betting regulation in Canada.” This can say that the NHL has no business in wanting to try and legalize sports betting. There is another quote that really stirs things up for the legalization of sports betting in this article and that is: “The NHL team in Vegas is more like opening the door a crack, not releasing the floodgates for sports betting.” This almost perfectly sums up the fact that sports betting might be legal, but still has many more years before that maybe even happens.

The president of American Gaming Association, Geoff Freeman, claims that the franchise will open the window for legalizing sports gambling. The Washington Post had an article where Freeman states, “It’s time for a new approach to sports betting that eliminates the federal prohibition and recognizes what the NHL, NBA and others have acknowledged.” With Freeman being the president of the AGA, he stands on the side where he would like to see sports betting legal. In the article it states that 80% of NFL teams are within 100 miles of a casino. This however is not the same as an NHL franchise in the sports betting capital of the world. An NHL in Vegas will most likely cause more illegal sports betting to happen. Especially an increase in NHL sports betting.

So now the question comes up again. That question would be, how does an NHL team in Vegas affect sports betting? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that a hockey team in Vegas would have only a hockey mind. This is most likely not to be true. Las Vegas is the most notorious place for betting and gambling. So the thought of sports gambling being legalized is in question. And with this NHL franchise in Vegas it will cause more illegal sports betting resulting in that $150 million to go up.

Picture by Ed Gregory at
Picture by Ed Gregory at

Recently, owner of the Oakland Raiders Mark Davis released a statement saying that he is going to file a move to Las Vegas. This, unlike the NHL, has not been confirmed as a for sure thing. In an ESPN article author Jim Trotter says that: “He was committed to Las Vegas 100 percent.” This is another situation where sports betting could be that much closer to be legalized. If the Raiders would be allowed to move to Vegas that would increase the push for getting sports betting legalized. In that same article Mr. Trotter reads, “Roger Goodell tried to pump the breaks on the Raiders to Vegas talk Wednesday afternoon.” This statement states Goodell’s position on this topic. Though commissioner Goodell has been criticized for his work over the years but he believes that the move to Vegas would not do good. Sports betting would be out of the roof with not one but two professional sports teams in Vegas. This wouldn’t just affect the legality of sports betting but gambling in general.

In recent news the owner of the Vegas team, Bill Foley, has announced the name of the franchise. They are now the Las Vegas Golden Knights. In a USA Today article the Golden Knights were not able to have their logo trademarked. This by itself could be another controversy, because it is the same name as the Saint Rose College team, The Golden Knights. But let’s save that topic for another day.

A sports team in Vegas would heavily impact the rules of sports betting in the United States. The casinos of Vegas would love for a sports team to come to Vegas. History has proven that sports teams in Vegas have not been able to stay but there has never been a professional sports team there. In the past two years one team has been confirmed to Vegas and another is pending. The future of sports betting will be determined in the next decade. These two teams could make sports betting legal. Gambling has the opportunity to be so much bigger with sports betting possibly being legalized in the next few years with these teams moving to Vegas. More money, more poverty, and more attention could be the result.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Post by JacobB. Featured Image taken by tookapic at


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