Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL approach to injury disclosure conflicting with sports betting growth

Obfuscation of player injuries during Stanley Cup Playoffs has hardened over the years into a quaint and often comical traditionDAVID BERDING/USA TODAY SPORTS

The NHL’s "concealing approach to injury disclosure has made it an outlier" among sports leagues’ "full-throated efforts to profit from legalized sports betting," according to Adam Kilgore of the WASHINGTON POST. The obfuscation of player injuries during the Stanley Cup Playoffs has "hardened over the years into a quaint and often comical tradition." While other leagues maintain "strict rules about disclosing injuries and punish noncompliant teams," NHL coaches still "discuss injuries in only the vaguest terms, and the league has no mechanism that compels teams to reveal specifics." Even in an "age of widespread gambling, from which it reaps financial benefits," the NHL has "stuck with its approach." But the "dearth of transparency" means the fans whom the NHL has "tacitly or explicitly encouraged to gamble on its games often operate without the most fundamental knowledge: Who’s playing?" Kilgore: "More disquieting, it allows for the possibility that some bettors or bookmakers could gain access to information the public does not have, skewing the market in the favor of insiders." The NHL has "ventured into new territory with betting," as the league and its franchises have "formed partnerships with a passel of online sportsbooks." However, the league has "no plans to adjust how it permits teams to withhold injuries from the public." The NFL’s "comprehensive injury-disclosure policy" was adopted with the aim of "creating a level playing field for bettors, although some NFL coaches remain deliberately vague." In a "rapidly evolving climate," though, some sportsbook operators "expect that to change" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/10).

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