NHL Partners With Former AGA Executive Sara Slane to Advise on Legal Sports Betting

Posted on: July 22, 2019, 02:17h. 

Last updated on: July 22, 2019, 02:17h.

The NHL has tapped Sara Slane, the former senior vice president of public affairs of the American Gaming Association (AGA), to advise the professional hockey league on all things sports betting.

NHL odds sports betting Sara Slane
Sara Slane will assist the NHL on sports betting matters, as the gambling activity continues to expand across the US. (Image: Bloomberg Live)

The 39-year-old Slane announced her resignation last month from the gaming industry’s premiere lobbying group in DC to form her own advisory firm. It didn’t take her long to land her first major client.

The NHL says Slane Advisory will consult the league on sports betting and help hockey maximize its revenues from the gambling activity as it expands into new states.

“Our new partnership with Slane Advisory is another example of our commitment to working collaboratively with the sports betting industry and developing a best-in-class approach to partnerships,” NHL Chief Business Officer Keith Wachtel told CDC Gaming Reports.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018, nine states have joined Nevada in getting legal sportsbooks operational. They are Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New Mexico, New York, and Mississippi.

Slane Leadership

The SCOTUS judgement that PASPA ran afoul of the US Constitution was a landmark decision and historic day in the gaming industry. It also led to former AGA CEO Geoff Freeman being poached away by the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association.

In the interim, Slane became the face of the AGA. Following PASPA’s repeal, some of the commissioners of America’s “big four” professional sports leagues, as well as the NCAA, called on Congress to introduce legislation to create a regulatory federal framework that states wishing to allow sports betting adhere.

Slane testified last fall before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations that such an added regulatory layer would make it harder for legal sportsbooks to compete with rogue offshore operators.

States and tribes have proven to be effective gaming regulators in the 26 years since Congress enacted PASPA,” Slane told the House subcommittee. “As Congress has refrained from regulating lotteries, slot machines, table games and other gambling products, it should similarly refrain from engaging on sports wagering barring an identifiable problem that warrants federal attention.”

Her opinions seemingly resonated, as Congress has stayed on the sidelines regarding sports betting laws post-PASPA.

Bill Miller became the chief executive of the AGA earlier this year. The lobbyist predicts the next five years will be more exciting for the gaming industry than the last three decades combined.

Embracing Sports Betting

The NHL was the first major sports league to embrace Las Vegas. While the NFL and MLB remained opposed to putting a team in Sin City where sports betting is widespread, the hockey organization announced an expansion team for Southern Nevada in 2016.

The Vegas Golden Knights exceeded all expectations in their inaugural year by reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

Last October, the NHL struck a deal with MGM Resorts for the casino operator to receive real-time proprietary data to use at its sportsbooks. MGM owns 50 percent of the T-Mobile Arena where the Golden Knights play their home games.