One of the questions that always comes up regarding sports betting is how the major professional sports leagues in the world feel about it. This is always an interesting discussion, as sports leagues don’t actually have control over the outcome of any sports betting legislation, but their opinion is interesting nonetheless. And with sports betting legalization increasing across the United States, it is worth keeping an eye out to see what each major sports league has said about the industry and whether or not they support its legalization in Canada going forward. The results are more positive than some would expect.
The NHL features one of the more surprising turns on the topic of sports betting in recent memory, thanks in large part to commissioner Gary Bettman. Bettman, regardless of the job he has done across the league during his tenure as commissioner, has gone from being staunchly anti-sports betting to embracing the industry. Among the four major sport commissioners, it could be argued that Bettman speaks the most positively about sports betting. And with the Golden Knights becoming the league’s first Las Vegas-based team, it’s no secret that Bettman has no concerns about the sports betting industry and his sport being intertwined.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was one of the first major sport commissioners to discuss sports betting at all. He got ahead of the curve on that topic by embracing the fact that sports betting was going to continue to get more popular as his tenure as commissioner progressed. That sensible approach led to Silver advocating for the legalization of sports betting well before other commissioners did, citing the fact that sports bets lead to fans watching games, which is a positive for the league as a whole. Silver seems to understand that sports betting is good for business, which makes him an ally.
What does the NFL think?
As is the case with most of the stances that the NFL takes, the league’s position on sports betting depends on how they do with it from a business perspective. When it comes to wagering, the NFL stands to do incredibly well, which means that they are accepting of the industry. The league already has many teams with partnerships with daily fantasy sports betting companies, and would likely expand those partnerships to feature actual sportsbooks in states where that is an option. With the chance to do things like put betting kiosks in stadiums, the NFL could position itself as a leader in that space.
What does Major League Baseball think?
If there has been one league that has been most quiet about sports betting, it would have to be Major League Baseball. MLB has really only spoken about sports betting in the sense that they want to make sure that the integrity of their game is protected. That is understandable, but at the same time leaves a lot to be desired in terms of enthusiasm for the industry. And with the Blue Jays representing the league in Canada, it feels like a missed opportunity for Canadian sports bettors. It would also be a missed opportunity for Canadian sports bettors not to check out these sportsbook sites.
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