by Dan Adkisson
The bond between casinos and the National Hockey League (NHL) has been long-standing, which includes the now hugely popular NHL Casino Night that started in 1998.
The NHL Casino Night was originally started as a fundraiser by the big guns of the New York Rangers team in Central Park and repeated on an annual basis. Initially, only a handful of casino games, such as blackjack and poker, were available to play.
Once the NHL picked up on the concept in 2001, when they envisaged a lucrative and long-term goal, they put a different spin on the traditional idea of a brick-and-mortar casino. They introduced their very own NHL Casino and Gaming Night.
Charities Benefit From Betting Losses
The NHL, which boasts seven Canadian teams out of the 32-strong league, currently uses the event as a marketing tool and to raise money for various causes and charities.
Numerous popular casino games have been introduced over the years, such as craps, roulette and slot machines.
Since being renamed NHL Casino Night in 2010, the annual event has raised millions of Canadian and US dollars for charity organizations from house winnings.
Even the only virtual event, held in 2020 because of COVID-19, proved to be a highly lucrative night for good causes.
Since the pandemic, there’s been a massive global switch to virtual gaming. A plethora of new online casinos and sportsbooks have opened up across the world, with Canadian gamblers able to now check comparison sites like time2play Canada to search for the best games and promotions.
Many NHL teams have been keen to introduce casino-like elements into their in-game experiences. They have added casino-themed areas for fans to play online games, before and after the match as well during intermissions.
Bringing Out The Competitive Spirit
Yet it is the NHL Casino Night that remains one of the biggest influences on the current state of the casino world.
The glitz and glamour of the annual event bring out the competitive spirit of coaches, die-hard hockey fans and players.
Nowadays NHL Casino Night doesn’t just offer casino-style games. Live entertainment and music accompanied by gourmet food and drinks attracts people from all walks of life. VIP sections offer red-carpet photos for guests to meet ‘n’ greet numerous high-profile NHL stars.
The entertainment doesn’t stop there. Fans don’t have to be high fliers as various NHL-related items are up for grabs at raffles and a silent auction.
Although sportsmanship plays a major role during the event, the big-name celebrities do seem to like being seen (and photographed) splashing the cash when they know that mainstream charities will benefit from their losses.
Charities and organizations to have benefitted from NHL Casino Night include:
● Boys and Girls Club of America;
● Hockey Fights Cancer;
● Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society;
● Make-A-Wish Foundation;
● Ronald McDonald House Charity, and;
● Special Olympics
Funds from the major money-making annual event, hosted over the years by different NHL teams, have also been used to build ice rinks.
The NHL Foundation, the league’s charity, raises money from the NHL Casino Night. Their main focus is on cancer, environmental protection and helping build youth hockey leagues.
Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and around half of the players competing in the NHL are Canadian. While we see a huge amount of love for Canada’s most popular teams of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto’s Maple Leafs, or the other five Canada-based sides, the love also extends to the U.S. as well.
Teams such as the Kings, Golden Knights and Sharks hold a place of admiration in NHL lore. This has also helped the sport cross borders, and become one that encompasses both Canada and the U.S., making it a North American sport, rather than just a Canadian one.
Place Your Hockey Bets
As the NHL’s reach spans millions of hockey fans across the globe, online casinos have entered a profitable partnership to increase their brand awareness with the league and their teams.
NHL sponsorships allow casino brands to tap into the league’s fan base, which ultimately attracts a new set of potential customers in the highly crowded online gambling marketplace.
By navigating the NHL betting landscape there are various ways to wager on a game. The most popular are moneyline betting, prop bets and totals (over/under lines).
Moneyline betting is the simplest way to place a wager on the NHL because it involves picking a team to triumph.
Choosing either the home or away team to win in regulation time, overtime or after a shootout is a 2-way moneyline wager. A 3-way wager, when your team must win in 60 minutes, is another option as the odds are higher than a 2-way wager.
Prop bets involve wagering on specific events within a game, like the first goal scorer or total penalties. Player Prop Bets refer to bets on a player’s performance.
Totals betting focuses on predicting the combined score of both teams, with the line generally set between five and eight goals.