Betting on the future at Global Gaming Expo with Bettman is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, IN, KS, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and VA.

Gary Bettman’s in town today and it’s always nice to have the NHL commissioner in Las Vegas.

After all, without Bettman (and Bill Foley) there’s no Vegas Golden Knights and no pro sports boom in our city. Which is why I think he should be immune to the standard booing he receives whenever he is at an event here. He should receive papal dispensation at T-Mobile Arena.

He also should be praised for coming around on gambling as it pertains to the NHL.

Check Out More NHL Content Here

I remember when then-Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman traveled to New York to meet with Bettman about putting a franchise in his city. Oscar made a compelling argument, as is his wont being a celebrated criminal trial attorney. But Bettman is also a lawyer by trade and he argued that he had grave concerns about allowing the NHL to have a team in a city where betting on sports in general and his league in particular was something he wasn’t comfortable with.

This was back in 1999. Goodman also met with then-NBA commissioner David Stern shortly after his confab with Bettman. Same result. Stern was not comfortable with putting a team in Vegas because of the gambling element.

But Oscar’s not used to taking no for an answer. He’s persistent if nothing else. Eventually, he wore Stern down and the NBA agreed to bring its 2007 All-Star Game to Las Vegas.

As for the NHL, Bettman, who’s no dummy, realized that betting on hockey was going to exist whether or not he condoned or condemned it. And when the MGM teamed up with Anschutz Entertainment Group to build what would be T-Mobile Arena, it paved the way for Foley to apply for a team, pay a then-record $500 million expansion fee, and eventually be granted a franchise.

And whether you like them or not, the Golden Knights have been a huge success story, both on and off the ice.

Since the Knights’ debut three years ago, the NHL has embraced gambling to a certain extent. It has allowed teams to make marketing deals with sportsbook operators. Recently, Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitals, announced he was going to put a book in his team’s arena.

That notion will no doubt be a topic of discussion when Bettman and William Hill’s Joe Asher participate in a panel discussion at the Global Gaming Expo this morning at the Sands Convention Center. What was once a deal-breaker for bringing an NHL team to Las Vegas has turned 180 degrees to where people will be able to go into an NHL arena and make an over-the-counter bet.

Of course, people who have phone betting accounts in states where sports betting is legal and have NHL franchises in those states, have been betting inside arenas for the last year, longer here in Nevada.

And while Bettman will focus on gambling in his G2E seminar, he might also want to talk about some of the other things the NHL is involved with.

I’d like to hear what the progress is on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players. Last month, both sides elected not to opt out of the current CBA, which expires after the 2021-22 season. What are both sides looking for in the new agreement?

I’d like to get his thoughts on how the league can improve its officiating. Last year’s playoffs produced a spate of bad calls and bad decisions. I don’t need to remind Foley and his VGK fan base of that. They continue to tweak the replay rules and challenges for coaches. Is that ultimately the right answer? Or would it not be better for the four officials on the ice to get the call right the first time?

I know hockey’s a fast game and very difficult to officiate. But the guys in stripes need to be better.

It also needs to be a safer game. Bettman has been criticized for his stance on concussions and refusing to admit the science that indicates a correlation between head injuries sustained in games and long- and short-term CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). The NHL needs to be harsher when it comes to meting out discipline for head shots, especially for repeat offenders.

No one questions a clean bodycheck. It’s part of what makes the NHL so appealing. But when guys start head-hunting, the league needs to step in and put an immediate stop to it.

The league also has a TV deal to negotiate. With more people cutting the cord with their cable companies and watching on their phone or tablet, is the NHL going to get less money from NBC or whatever network it negotiates with on a new deal for 2021-22? Would a return relationship with ESPN make sense?

Financially, the league has never been better. And with Seattle preparing to join the NHL in two years, the game continues its upward growth pattern. The level of play has never been higher. The marketing of individual players continues to improve. The league is embracing technology and analytics to attract new fans.

Bettman, a 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, has had a lot to do with it. He has endured lots of criticism in his 26-year tenure as commissioner, much of deserved. But he has also seen his sport grow during his stewardship. The NHL may still be the fourth of the four major sports in this country, but it’s on solid footing.

Hopefully, they won’t boo Bettman today at the Sands. But it wouldn’t shock me if he was. For him, it comes with the territory. 

WHAT’S IN A GT VIP ACCOUNT? Amazing content, analysis, stats, and a digital paper for only 21 cents a day.

About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

Get connected with us on Social Media