NHL No Problem With Players Promoting Online Poker

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mats Sundin

David Banes of the Vancouver Sun on Saturday questioned hockey star Mats Sundin's promotion of a free, strictly-for-fun gambling website called PokerStars.net.

Banes points out that a television commercial widely aired throughout Canada shows Sundin playing hockey, enthusiastically shooting the puck and decking opponents, interspersed with shots of him playing poker, enthusiastically trumping his opponents with aces and scooping up the spoils.

"Same buzz, different game," the commercial states, suggesting that playing poker can be as much fun as playing hockey.

"The NHL has no objection with Mats having a relationship with and endorsing the free, educational website PokerStars.net," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly informed Banes in an e-mail this week.

On the other hand, he said, "We do not allow endorsement or sponsorship relationships with 'for money' gaming websites of any kind."

Banes, who told Gambling911.com he favors regulation of online poker as a means of ensuring proper safeguards are in place to prevent underage gambling and addictions, offered the following response:  

"In my view, this is a specious argument. Industry experts agree the real purpose of these free "dot-net" gambling sites (nearly all the major online gambling companies have them) is to groom players for their "dot-com" cash gambling sites."

To make matters worse, Sundin doesn't appear to know anything about poker.

Sundin was recently criticized on the WickedChopsPoker.com website for not being able to answer simple poker questions.

WickedChops offered up some helpful advise to PokerStars:

"All right, Poker Stars. If you're gonna do these athlete celeb sponsors, let's lay down a couple rules: 1) no gingers (ah-hem), and 2) at least kind of sort of educate them on some poker basics."

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher        

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