Golden Knights Home Debut Results In Big Day For Sports Books

Written By Jessica Welman on October 12, 2017
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[toc]After a shocking and sad October for Las Vegas, Nevada and its residents, things took a happier turn on Tuesday. Sin City is officially a hockey town. The Las Vegas Golden Knights played in their home debut against the Arizona Coyotes. T-Mobile Arena was filled with fans, who joined the team for a memorable home opener.

The team won the hearts of fans both by honoring those lost in the recent Vegas shooting incident and the first responders on scene and by defeating their opponent 5-2. Through three games, the Golden Knights remain undefeated.

William Hill had most NHL action ever

The arena was not the only place popping either. Nevada sports books all experienced big bumps in bets on regular-season NHL.

Interestingly enough, Vegas residents may love the hockey team, but they are still savvy bettors. Unsure of the skill level of the expansion team, money came in against the Golden Knights on the first two away games, per David Malinsky of Sports Book Review.

However, as Sports Book Review also notes, after winning as the underdog twice, money on the first Vegas Knights home game poured in on their side. At several major Vegas casinos, the line opened -110 or -115, but closed as high as -135. Meanwhile, the offshore books offered decidedly lower action.

Not only was the line different, the action was much higher than usual at both brick and mortar and live sports books. David Payne Purdum of ESPN reported on the William Hill action:

Only time will tell if this spike in NHL continues as the season progresses. With the city still reeling and eager to support any sort of #VegasStrong celebration, as well as the newness of the team, this could be the exception to betting action as opposed to the rule.

Sports betting apps ignore NHL pleas

Shortly before Tuesday’s home game, William Hill actually encouraged more hockey betting with a Tweet of their own:

Yes, fans on both sides of the team can bet from their seats thanks to the large number of mobile betting apps in the state. However, this is something the NHL would rather fans not know.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with Bloomberg just last month about hoping to limit betting in and around the arena. His thought was nearby casinos like New York New York, MGM Grand, and Monte Carlo (all MGM properties) would take the bet off the board.

Not one of those casinos took the bet down in advance of Tuesday’s game. Additionally, there was no geotargeted restrictions on mobile betting apps either.

Bettman’s concern is that the games remain family-friendly. Given the turnout of fans of all ages, it seems as though he is overestimating the distaste betting leaves in people’s mouths these days.

Photo by Jonathan Weiss /

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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