In most parts of the world, a partnership between a sports betting operator and a professional sports league isn’t exactly front page news. But in the United States, where the wall between professional sports and sports betting is rapidly falling, it’s still big news. That’s why the recent news that William Hill has been announced as the official sports betting partner of the National Hockey League (NHL) is such a big deal.

Under the terms of the deal, William Hill will be able to embrace unique promotional opportunities with NHL fans, and explore the possibility of accessing the league’s proprietary data gathering system, NHL Puck and Player Tracking, sometime in the future.

Unlike other leagues, the NHL has generally been supportive of American sports betting, a point league commissioner Gary Bettman brought up in a recent news conference. “Once the Supreme Court ruled, you’ve got to get with the program and frankly as a practical matter, I owed it to our fans, I owed it our clubs, to embrace the evolving world. Whether it’s sports betting or changes in technology, in this day and age, you either evolve or you become extinct. So we understood the practicalities of what happened, we anticipated that it might happen, and we decided to take a very forward-looking, practical approach,” he told recently.

And, unlike the other leagues, the NHL hasn’t attempted to blackmail sports betting operators with integrity fees. William Hill CEO brought up that point saying, “A couple of the other leagues have come up with this concept that you must buy official league data and you have to pay a royalty in order to have the privilege of buying something that they can set monopoly pricing on, which is not a particularly attractive thing for a commercial actor like we are. The NHL has not taken that approach at all. They’ve taken a collaborative approach of working with the industry.”

The NHL has also partnered with DraftKings as its official daily fantasy sports partner, and is in a promotional deal with MGM Resorts as well.


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