Some experts have urged the National Hockey League (NHL) to treat gambling as a mental health disorder, rather than a regular pastime following the suspension of Shane Pinto, a forward of the Ottawa Senators.
About a week ago, Pinto was suspended for 41 games by the NHL’s governing body over breaching the League’s rules on sports betting. The National Hockey League revealed that it has found no evidence that the American hockey player placed any wagers on the League’s games and it considers the matter closed.
The issue, however, has raised some concerns among researchers regarding the support that is given to young professional athletes when it comes to gambling.
One of the professors at the psychology department of the University of Calgary, who also works in collaboration with the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, David Hodgins, shared that considering the prevalence of gambling and betting advertising and businesses in sports, it was a matter of time before an athlete was involved in breaching the betting rules. According to him, it makes sense that some of the sportspersons would be competitive athletes who were getting exposed, but before that they would be seen by many other people who would probably associate them with gambling.
Professor Hodgins believes it was inevitable that some people would be enticed to be involved with gambling. He said that he would like the National Hockey League to take the issue into account and change its traditional view of gambling use disorders. He also remains hopeful that some people’s involvement with gambling will eventually result in them getting the appropriate professional support.
Professional Athletes Not Allowed to Place Wagers on Sports
Shane Pinto has become the latest professional athlete that got suspended after the US Supreme Court officially lifted the federal ban on sports betting and legalized the practice in 2018.
In recent years, the National Football League has banned a number of players for violations of gambling rules.
The American Hockey League (AHL) issued a statement that it is considering a potential revision to its current policy that would see players of league employees banned from placing wagers on AHL games, especially considering the suspension of Pinto and the scrutiny linked to it.
Before the beginning of the 2023/2024 season, a new sports betting policy was issued by the Canadian Hockey League, which includes the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Western Hockey League. The program includes an online education component and is focused on making sure that people understand the policy. It is also aimed at ensuring support for anyone who needs it.
According to the league, all people linked to the CHL, including team owners, trainers, referees, security and medical staff, as well as coaches and players, are not allowed to directly or indirectly place bets on the outcome or any other aspect of a game within the Canadian Hockey League. This ban also extends to both national and international tournaments that involve junior athletes.