NHL Players

Can NHL Players Bet On Other Sports?

By Dipak BK / 31 October 2023 06:38 AM

Source : facebook

Can NHL players bet on other sports? NHL players can bet on other sports like basketball, football, baseball, and others except for NHL games.

The NHL does not have any specific regulations in place that prohibit a player from betting in the NFL, NBA, MLB, or any other sports. The only regulation mentioned specifically in the CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA is that "Gambling on any NHL Game is prohibited".

Shane Pinto of the Ottawa Senators was handed a 41-game suspension most recently by the league for "activities related to sports wagering".

The suspension handed out to Pinto is the first time the NHL has suspended a player for gambling-related issues since the 1940s. Billy Taylor and Don Gallinger of the Boston Bruins were banned for life from the NHL for betting on their team's games in 1948. 

NHL has cracked down on individuals for violations of their gambling-related issues on several occasions, one such instance was in 2007 when they handed out a 2 years probation for conspiracy and promoting gambling to Rick Tochet.

Tochet was the assistant coach of the Arizona Coyotes at the time. Rick currently serves as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

NHL Rules on Gambling

The rules state that gambling on any NHL games is strictly prohibited. Disciplinary actions will be taken for violations of NHL gambling policy.

The NHL is very strict in enforcing its rules and there was a memo sent out in 2022 which served as a warning that any sort of betting would be strictly punished. There have been instances where non-players have been punished for gambling-related misconduct. 

Commissioner Gary Bettman has the power to “discipline individuals determined to have engaged in improper gambling activities” with punishment that could include “expulsion of suspension for a definite or indefinite period” or “canceling any contract” or by “imposing a fine.”

There is a single line stated in the CBA that "Gambling on any NHL game is strictly prohibited". This means that gambling in games other than the NHL like the NFL, NBA, MLB, or other leagues is allowed by the NHL at the discretion of the players. 

As per the CBA, the NHL can punish players for activities that are “detrimental to the welfare of the league or the game of hockey”. It provides a sort of gray area where the NHL can use it to punish players, although a strict investigation does take place before one's guilt is determined.

Betting on NHL games even where it is allowed by law is prohibited by the NHL and considers such conduct which is subject to punishment pending an investigation.

Source : twitter

Given below are some of the things surrounding gambling that the National Hockey League warns players to not do. 

  • Share their accounts
  • Placing bets with third parties 
  • A prop will be treated the same as betting on a hockey game
  • Sharing of jokes and offhand comments about the odds
  • Sharing insight into injury info of players
  • Betting  through illegal means like bookmakers

The NHL teams can restrict their employees from taking part in things like Fantasy Hockey leagues for money. There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to gambling but the one ironclad rule is players are not allowed to gamble on any NHL games. 

There is a strict investigation that is conducted if someone is accused of taking part in bets in NHL games. The punishment is usually handed out based on the results of said investigation unless the individual pleads guilty. 

What did Shane Pinto gamble on?

Shane Pinto was not accused of betting on an NHL game as the investigations found no evidence. The matter is considered closed by the NHL.

The details of the reason for his suspension remain blurred for now as the Senators forward plea deal includes a confidentiality agreement.

Although the details remain unclear at this point, Pinto has accepted that he was in the wrongdoing and accepted the consequences handed out by the league.

Shane Pinto suspension is the first gambling-related punishment issued since 1948. The 41 game suspension received by Pinto is one of the longest in NHL history and the first instance of a player being suspended for gambling in over 70 years.

The suspension came about as a result of his pleading guilty after reports came around after an issue in Pinto's account was flagged by the NHL's betting partner and reports of possible his connections to a third-party bettor came to light. 

Source : instagram

Pinto apologized to the fans, his teammates, the league, and all the parties slighted by his mistake, and took full responsibility for the incident in a statement.

Shane Pinto has not played any games in the 2023-24 season and now remains a restricted free agent. He was drafted by the Senators in 2019 as the 32nd overall pick and played for the University of North Dakota before beginning in the NHL.

He signed a 3-year entry-level contract on April 1, 2021. The 2022-23 season was the first full season Pinto played in the NHL registering 35 points (20 G & 15 A) as he missed almost the entire 2021-22 season due to injuries. Moreover, he had made his debut late in 2020/21. 

Ottawa Senators released a statement addressing this issue saying that "Shane is a valued member of our hockey club; an engaging, intelligent young man who made poor decisions that have resulted in a suspension by the NHL. We know he is remorseful for his mistakes”.

The Senators also added “When the time is right and with the league’s blessing, we will welcome him back to the organization and embrace him as one of our own” which may mean there is a possibility of the Senators working out a new agreement with Pinto. 

NHL Players Suspended For Gambling

NHL players to be suspended for gambling are:

  • Don Gallinger
  • Billy Taylor
  • Babe Pratt
  • Shane Pinto

The NHL handed out a nine-game suspension to Walter "Babe" Pratt in 1946 for betting on NHL games. Pratt played for the Maple Leafs as the winger at the time.

Then commissioner Clarence Campbell had issued a lifetime ban at first which was reduced to nine games after Pratt admitted to the gambling which had no connections to the Maple Leafs.

Pratt also played for the NY Rangers and the Boston Bruins along with the Leafs in his NHL career which included two Stanley Cups, one with the Rangers in 1940 and another with the Maple Leafs in 1945. Pratt scored the game-winning goal for the Maple Leafs at the 1945 Finals.

Source : wikipedia

Don Gallinger and Billy Taylor played for the Boston Bruins and were the last players to receive a gambling-related suspension in the league before Shane Pinto. Gallinger and Taylor both received a lifetime ban from the NHL which was lifted 22 years later by the NHL.

Gallinger and Taylor worked with James Tamer, a career criminal and gambler from Detroit trading insider information and betting on NHL games. Gallinger had bet between $250 to $1,000 per game on eight games. 

In 1946, when Babe Pratt confessed to gambling to the then-President Red Dutton and promised to not do it again his lifetime suspension was lifted. The same was not true for Gallinger who had confessed to Commissioner Campbell privately despite denying his involvement publicly. 

Billy Taylor made the record for most assists in a single game while playing for the Detroit Red Wings (1966-47) in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks which was later matched by Wayne Gretzky

The Wings traded Taylor to the Bruins after a season. In the 1947-48 season, the Bruins management grew suspicious of Taylor and traded him to the New York Rangers where his career was cut short after playing 2 games for the Rangers. 

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