Betting on nothing

NHL owners have locked out their players, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get action down on hockey this season. From the Edmonton Journal:

An Antigua-based sports-betting firm has become the first to put odds on the outcome of the National Hockey League lockout, and how it could affect a season scheduled to open Oct. 13.

If you’re a betting person, it doesn’t look good.

Odds are 1-3 — meaning you must bet $3 to get a $1 return — the entire 2004-05 season will be wiped out by a labour dispute in which owners seek a salary cap and players are resisting it. puts odds the season will start at some point before the regular season concludes on April 10, 2005, at 2-1.

While big-time bettors could stand to cash in on the lockout, provincial governments — the benefactors of Canadian gambling largesse — stand to lose significant amounts of cash should play not begin this season.

NHL wagering makes up just over one third of total sales, and brings in an

$8-million annual profit, for the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, which serves the three Prairie provinces and three territories.

To offset the anticipated loss in revenue, the lottery corporation is introducing a number of other sports and leagues for sports fans to bet on, including U.S. college football and basketball and European soccer

Winter of discontent? You can bet on it.

Now, if a baseball player bet on the hockey lockout, would that be considered a violation? It’s not exactly a sporting event. This sounds like just the thing Pete Rose would wager on.

It’s interesting to learn that a management/player dispute over a salary cap in hockey can drastically impact lotteries in Canada.

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