G2E: Sports Betting Symposium to feature NHL commissioner, gaming industry executives

September 24, 2019 12:00 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
September 24, 2019 12:00 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman will take part in a wide-ranging discussion concerning the expansion of legal sports betting and the convergence of the activity within the sports industry during next month’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

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Bettman will kick-off G2E’s Sports Betting Symposium program on Wednesday, Oct. 16, during the gaming industry’s largest tradeshow and conference at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. He will be joined by Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US; Greg Carlin, co-founder and CEO of Rush Street Gaming; and Matt King, CEO of FanDuel.

The session is titled, “Executive Viewpoints: NHL Commissioner Bettman and Leading Gaming Executives Discuss New Business.” Bettman, Asher, Carlin and King will share opinions on the evolving sports-gaming relationship and the current and future value of new business partnerships. One of the topics to be discuss is how learning about the gaming industry changed the perception of betting on sports for a league commissioner.

In March, Bettman participated in the American Gaming Association’s Sports Betting Executive Summit at MGM National Harbor in Maryland. He told the audience during a discussion with MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren that his long opposition to sports betting changed when Las Vegas became a landing spot for an NHL expansion franchise.

After the U.S. Supreme Court threw out PASPA in a landmark ruling in May 2018 and opened the U.S. to sports betting expansion, the NHL “got on board,” Bettman said during the discussion.

“Once the Supreme Court ruled, we had to get with the program,” Bettman said at the conference. “You either evolve or you become extinct. We decided to take a forward-looking practical approach.”

To date, 13 states, including Nevada’s legacy market, have launched sports betting operations through casinos, racetracks and mobile wagering applications since the Supreme Court ruling. Another five states and Washington D.C. could launch legal sports betting by the end of the year.

Six other states have active legislation or ballot initiatives in place.

Nine NHL teams are located in states with legal sports betting, which will grow to 12 once Washington D.C., North Carolina, and Illinois launch the activity.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to hear from Commissioner Bettman and leading industry executives during this momentous time for the sports and gaming industries,” said American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller.

“With so many new partnerships between leagues, teams and gaming entities, it will be invaluable to hear the insights of our converging industries represented on a single stage,” Miller said.

William Hill operates more than 100 race and sports books in Nevada. The company has launched sports betting operations in New Jersey, West Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Mexico. The company also serves as the exclusive risk manager for the sports lottery in Delaware. Rush Street Gaming operates Rivers Casinos in Des Plaines, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Schenectady, New York, and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. FanDuel launched in 2009 as a daily fantasy sports platform and now operates legal sportsbooks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Indiana.

Among the other topics to be covered in the discussion include understanding multiple partnerships, how leagues approach and evaluate business deals with operators and technology companies, and determining the value of striking deals with sports leagues.

G2E, which is produced by the AGA, runs Oct. 14-17 and is expected to attract 27,000 gaming industry professionals. The conference portion takes place all four days and tradeshow runs Tuesday through Thursday.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgamingreports.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.