The NHL, the only major professional North American sports league that operates a team in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, reacted cautiously Monday to the Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal law that prohibited individual states from allowing and managing bets on college and professional sports.
"The Supreme Court's decision today paves the way to an entirely different landscape, one in which we have not previously operated," the league said in a statement. "We will review our current practices and policies and decide whether adjustments are needed, and if so, what those adjustments will look like.
"It's important to emphasize that the Supreme Court's decision has no immediate impact on existing League rules relating to sports wagering, and particularly, wagering involving NHL games. So, while changes may be considered in the future, today's decision does not directly impact the operation of the League or any of our Clubs in the short term."
The Vegas Golden Knights became the NHL's 31st franchise this season. They play at T-Mobile Arena, which was backed by a partnership between Los Angeles-based AEG and MGM Resorts International. A competitive and entertainment success, they have reached the Western Conference final of the Stanley Cup playoffs in their first season.
Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the NHL, told the Los Angeles Times via email that the league's next steps "are to be determined." He also said the league had not seen any "irregularities" in bets involving the Golden Knights. "There has been an increase in betting — almost entirely related/attributable to Golden Knights," he said.
According to Jay Kornegay, the race and sports director for the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, there has been a 35% increase in hockey wagering at sports books on the Las Vegas Strip this season.
The National Hockey League Players' Assn. said in a statement: "The Supreme Court's decision today may well pave the way for increased, widespread, legalized gambling on sports throughout the United States. While this has the potential to have a positive impact upon sports, fans, and players, it is very important that players' rights are protected in any new legislative schemes, including rights of privacy and publicity. We look forward, along with the other Players' Associations, to being a vital part of that discussion."