Sunday, May 19, 2024

World hockey moves into betting with

Betting will become a staple of the game for the first time at the Women’s Hockey World Cup after the FIH inked a deal with gambling outfit – a move which raised eyebrows amongst the hockey community.

The three-year deal covers the upcoming World Cup showpiece in the summer as well as the FIH Hockey Pro League seasons in the Netherlands, from the end of this month until June 2025.

The landmark partnership into the betting space – England Hockey did sign a one-off sponsorship deal with Unibet for the 2015 EuroHockey Championships – was facilitated by Sportradar, the official betting and gaming data rights partner of the FIH.

With odds now set to become more of a presence at venues and online around major competitions, it raises the question of sports betting integrity for a new market such as hockey and how it will be combatted by the world governing body.

The news this week also received short shrift by fans, judging by comments on our Facebook page.

“A shocking decision,” wrote David Barrett. “Where are the resources to protect and maintain the integrity of the sport? Players and officials will come under significant pressure, and there will be very little to prevent approaches being made.”

On announcing the deal, FIH chief Thierry Weil said: “We’ve been looking at engaging with the betting industry for some time now, but it was essential for us to do so in a completely trustful environment.

“Thanks to our collaboration with Sportradar, we’ve found in the ideal partner to open the doors of the betting market to hockey. This first-of-a-kind move for us will hopefully generate further similar opportunities in this area in the future.”

Melvin Bostelaar, CEO “The Netherlands have been among the world’s top teams in hockey for years. As a 100% Dutch company, we are proud to be affiliated with the FIH and therefore being visible at matches in the Pro League and the Women’s Hockey World Cup of our national team.”

Last year, the FIH aimed to broaden its reach in the esports and gaming sector after inking a deal for its own hockey manager game on mobile.

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  1. This is a Dutch-only deal, the company isn’t licensed anywhere else and realistically the only nation that’ll bet on hockey. Not keen on governing bodies linking up with betting firms but, at least this one was facilitated by Sportradar, who will manage the integrity side of it. They know what they are doing in regards to detecting irrelgular betting patterns, potential fixing etc. This deal is more for the other business (selling casino and betting on other sports to those who watch Dutch hockey) rather than for hockey betting turnover. Will be irrelevant to everyone else.

  2. Very sad that a sport which, for the most part has eschewed the faux business models of advertising and betting, is now pursuing that solution. Gambling has very many losers and a few winners. The only guaranteed winners are the betting companies. Not long until there’s a Hanse Cronje issue…


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