Hockey Betting Integrity: The NHL's New Deal with Sportradar

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Sports betting may not be the first thing you think of when the National Hockey League comes to mind, but the powers that be at the NHL aren’t taking any chances.

With a new team set to begin play in Las Vegas for the 2017-18 NHL season, the National Hockey League expanded its contract with Sportradar to now include its Fraud Detection System to monitor suspicious betting activity. Sportrader had previously been under contract by the league to provide real-time game data.

While the NHL ranks well below the NFL and NBA in terms of betting, the decision to use Sportrader’s Fraud Detection System is a bit of a reversal from what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in June, when he was in Las Vegas to announce the expansion team.

"We don't worry about the integrity of our game," Bettman told reporters at the time. "I'm more focused on the atmosphere in the arena, and that's something we're comfortable with going forward. While we know gambling is part of the industry in Las Vegas, we're not going to make it all that easy for you to pick up a ticket, a gambling ticket, on your way into the arena.”

But Bettman and the rest of the league were apparently worried enough to sign the deal with Sportrader, although terms of the contract were not released.

“While we have the utmost confidence in the integrity of our sports and our games, Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System provides an additional layer of security and protection,” Bettman said in a press release last week to announce the deal.

The use of third-party companies to monitor betting activity has become a popular topic lately, as Major League Baseball signed an integrity deal with London’s Genius Sports last year and Genuis was used to track suspicious betting patterns in the Summer Olympics that just concluded in Rio De Janeiro.

Sportrader’s Fraud Detection System is currently used by the German Ice Hockey League and International Ice Hockey Federation, so the company has experience in detection betting patterns for the sport.

Sportradar’s Managing Director, Integrity Services, Andreas Krannich added: “Our award-winning FDS monitors over 100,000 matches across 12 sports around the world each year and we are delighted the NHL has chosen this system that oversees all relevant operators and markets, to bolster its integrity defenses.”

Sportrader can count NASCAR, the NFL and the International Tennis Federation among its league and federation partnerships and according to Bloomberg is in negations with the NBA for a six-year, $250 million deal that will cover betting data to sportsbooks and data analytics to teams among other things.

The company frequently makes mention that its U.S. Advisory Board includes Washington Wizards/Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and ironically Michael Jordan, a man known for reportedly losing staggering amounts of money on the golf course and according to former teammate Jay Williams would offer to play “Rock, paper, scissors” for six-figure amounts.

The league’s integrity agreement with Sportrader will cover all regular season and post-season games.

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