Stu Cowan: Chances are you’ll see gambling ads during the NHL playoffs

Hockey fans were inundated with TV spots and on-air talent promoting betting sites during games, and it became too much.

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The NHL and Hockey Night in Canada have bet everything on the game.

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If you watched the playoffs on TV, you might be tired of all the ads for online sports betting and gambling apps.

I know I am.

The ads also make me feel uneasy when I think about the damage problem gambling can have on people and their families.

Game announcements are constant throughout playoff games on CBC and Sportsnet – whether they’re airing during a commercial break, on a split-screen during live coverage, or on arena boards.

The on-air talent also gets in on the act. After a commercial break that included another commercial for a sportsbook during the first period of Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, Scott Oake said: “Remind you when we used to say, ‘Please don’t bet?’ Well, those days are behind us.”

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Oake then spoke of a ‘friendly bet’ between Canadian soccer stars Alphonso Davies of Edmonton and Sam Adekugbe of Calgary on the series, with the loser donating $2,000 to the team’s charity winner while being photographed wearing the winning team’s jersey.

“They upped the ante,” said play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert.

There’s even a regular intermission segment called SN Bets Big Board featuring Cabbie Richards and Andy MacNeil, an Edmonton-based hockey betting analyst for the Vegas Stats and Information Network.

“We have shares! It looks like a video game there,” Richards said after the Flames took a 3-1 first-period lead in a game they would win 9-6 before asking MacNeil for the betting lines. day.

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The game’s constant promotion has me dreaming of the more innocent days of my youth watching HNIC when intermissions included cartoon character Peter Puck explaining the rules of the game and Howie Meeker breaking down games on his telestrator to explain what mistakes were made. committed on the ice and how they might be corrected.

Back then, kids could learn about the game. Now, they might wonder how the money line that Richards and MacNeil promote so heavily works.

Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is a brand ambassador for BetMGM, while Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews has a sponsorship deal with Bet99. They both appear in TV spots promoting sports betting.

The NHL investigated Evander Kane before the start of this season following accusations by his ex-wife that he bet on San Jose games while playing for the Sharks. The NHL later announced that it found no evidence to support the allegations, and Kane signed with the Oilers after being placed on an unconditional waiver by San Jose.

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Kane admitted he had a gambling problem, which played a role when he filed for bankruptcy before the start of last season despite career NHL earnings of more than US$50 million.

The door to sports betting ad overload opened last month when Bill C-218 came into force in Ontario, which became the first province to expand its sports betting market. Prior to Bill C-218, the only legal type of sports betting in Canada was sports betting (where you choose multiple outcomes that must all be correct to win) and horse racing. Now bets can be placed on futures (eg which team will win the Stanley Cup), single games and bets such as 2-1 odds offered to any team to score a goal in any any NHL playoff game this month, which is promoted heavily on HNIC.

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There’s a lot of money to be won in sports betting (or any type of casino game) because most people lose. And the odds are that people who win will end up betting that money on future games. Ontario is expected to generate $800 million in gross revenue from sports betting this year, according to a CBC report.

Gretzky picked the Flames to win the Alberta battle, which will likely sway some players as it comes from the Great One, who is a former Oiler. Hopefully Matthews didn’t sway too many Toronto fans into betting on the Leafs in the first round of the playoffs with his gambling ads.

The NHL obviously hopes more people will watch games if they have the money on them, following in the footsteps of the NFL – the king of sports betting leagues.

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But there seems to be a disconnect in the NHL when it comes to play. The Flames’ Darryl Sutter explained this week that NHL coaches shouldn’t talk about injuries during the playoffs. There’s a reason the NFL has such detailed injury reports — not the vague “upper body” and “lower body” designations of NHL teams. This is to attract players with as much information about the games as possible.

It became too much for HNIC.

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to joke, “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.

If he were still alive, Dangerfield might joke, “I went to the casino the other night, and a hockey game broke out.

Call me old – or old fashioned – but I miss Peter Puck and Howie Meeker.

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