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NHL exec tips betting revenue to stall ticket hikes

| By iGB Editorial Team
LA Kings president Luc Robitaille also expects player salaries to rise

Luc Robitaille, president of NHL ice hockey franchise the Los Angeles Kings, has said revenue from legal sports betting could help keep tickets prices down in the league and also boost players’ salaries.

The NHL was previously against plans to expand legalised sports betting in the US, but since the repeal of PASPA earlier this year, the league and some of its teams have entered into gambling partnerships to take advantage of the ruling.

Last month, the NHL signed up MGM Resorts and its first official sports betting partner. Elsewhere, NHL outfit the New Jersey Devils recently signed a deal with Caesars Entertainment, while the Vegas Golden Knights has linked up with William Hill.

In addition, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has suggested that if the league is to fully embrace legal sports betting, it could benefit by over $200m (£153.5m/€176.2m) in additional revenue each year.

Speaking on ESPN’s On Ice podcast, Robitaille said he expects this money to trickle down to all NHL teams, offering another source of income and allowing them to lower the price of items such as tickets.

“I’m not going to guarantee it’s going to bring down ticket prices, but it might hold the raise a little bit,” Robitaille said. “If a team plans on raising ticket prices by 8%, they might only raise them by 4% or 5%. If there’s a lot more money at the table, it makes everybody’s life easier.

“You would think [new sources of revenue through legal sports betting] would help with always putting the pressure on fans to keep paying … hockey is still a ticket business, primarily.

“Hopefully that helps offset some of the ticket pricing. I’m not sure about it, but it could if the money is significant enough. There’s a lot that could go around it.”

Robitaille also said that the additional revenue will mean teams can spend more on their squads and the amount they pay their players.

He said: “If teams profit, then everybody will profit. If you go by the numbers on the illegal part, it’s pretty significant. If that part ends up on the team side, I think it’s going to help everyone.

“First of all, the [salary] cap will go up. Fans will be happy. Teams will spend more money on players. Players’ salaries will go up.”

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