Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks was accused of racking up sports betting debts, betting on NHL games, and throwing games that he played in by his estranged wife Anna on Saturday. One of her now expired and deleted Instagram Stories posts said:
“How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he’s obviously throwing games with bookies to win money?”
She also specifically called out NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in another post saying:
“Can someone ask Gary Bettman how they let a player gamble on his own games? Bet and win with bookies on his own games?”
On Sunday, the forward for the Sharks took to Twitter to deny allegations that bet on NHL games, including ones involving the team he was playing for. Part of his statement says:
“I have NEVER gambled/bet on Hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on a Sharks game, NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games and NEVER thrown a hockey game.”
“The facts are I personally had my best season of my career last year and was the most consistent I’ve been throughout any season, I’m proud of that. I love the game of Hockey and would never do any of what was alleged. I look forward to cooperating fully with the league’s investigation, having my name cleared and looking forward to this upcoming season.”
The NHL will investigate to see if there’s any merit to the accusations. The statement on the matter says:
“The League was made aware this evening of a post on social media alleging that San Jose Sharks Player Evander Kane bet on NHL games. The integrity of our game is paramount and the League takes these allegations very seriously. We intend to conduct a full investigation and will have no further comment at this time.”
These are hefty accusations that could have major ramifications that are felt throughout sports and gambling.
Kane’s history of gambling in Las Vegas
Kane has a history of gambling when visiting Las Vegas. In 2019, he was sued by Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for owing the casino $500,000. The lawsuit shared information that Kane received eight credits between $20,000 and $100,000 around April 15, 2019. The date stands out because the Sharks were playing the Vegas Golden Knights in the playoffs at the time.
The Cosmopolitan dropped the lawsuit in 2020. Neither the casino nor the player commented about the suit afterward. This was the last heard about Kane’s gambling until the allegations over the weekend.
According to ESPN, sportsbook operators in Las Vegas aren’t aware of Kane betting on sports inside casinos. The article mentions that he could have had a “beard” place the wagers for him since the NHL prohibits players from betting on hockey games. The idea of having a beard should be part of the NHL’s investigation.
Bigger scandal than Pete Rose?
This may be a bigger deal than when Pete Rose was banned from Major League Baseball for betting on games. Kane isn’t on the same level as Rose as a player. However, there could be more issues because of the landscape of expanded sports betting across the country.
A lot has changed with sports betting since the Pete Rose case. The NHL has embraced the growth of legal sports betting inside and outside of Nevada. The league has partnerships with the following sportsbook operators:
The NHL has an equity stake in the PointsBet sportsbook which hasn’t made its way to Nevada yet. The league also has a fantasy sports deal with DraftKings.
Furthermore, teams like the Golden Knights, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins each have team-specific deals with individual sportsbook operators.
If Kane is found guilty of legally or illegally betting on NHL games the league and its partners will have to deal with the fallout. The NHL’s investigation into Kane should be completed before the 2021-22 season begins in October when the Golden Knights take on Seattle Kraken.