Shane Pinto, the forward of Ottawa Senators, got a 41-game suspension from the NHL on 26 October 2023 over allegations for the involvement in sports gambling activities. The suspension of the 22-year-old American hockey player reportedly represents the first NHL player banned for sports gambling in the post-PASPA period.
First Modern-Day NHL Player Suspended:
As Associated Press (AP) reports, the league said that Shane Pinto‘s half-season ban was due to the Senators player’s involvement in the sports wagering activities. As reported, the NHL only informed that its investigation found no evidence that Pinto wagered on NHL games. Sports betting activities are strictly forbidden for players, in particular on games in their leagues. But the NHL did not reveal any further details, according to AP.
On the other side, Ottawa Senators reportedly released the Pinto’s statement: “I want to apologize to the National Hockey League, the Ottawa Senators, my teammates, the fans and city of Ottawa and most importantly my family. I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.”
As AP reports, Pinto will follow the agreement of the NHL Players’ Association not to lodge an appeal for the suspension but will be looking forward to come back from the thin ice to the more solid one. Therefore the league reportedly considers the matter closed. At the same time, it seems that the Ottawa team will help Pinto to get through the suspension and get back into the game. As reported by AP, Coach D.J. Smith said that Senators would welcome Pinto with open arms as soon as the suspension expires. It means that Shane Pinto will be back in the middle of the season. AP reports that the forward player still needs to sign a contract. As he is the last player without a deal, the suspension will extend the waiting time for the contract.
But the Senators said in a statement: “Shane is a valued member of our hockey club; an engaging, intelligent young man who made poor decisions that have resulted in a suspension by the National Hockey League. We know he is remorseful for his mistakes. The Ottawa Senators fully support the NHL’s rules on gambling. While saddened to learn of this issue, the entire organization remains committed to Shane and will work together to do what is necessary to help provide the support to allow him to address his issues and become a strong contributor to our community,” AP reports.
$220 Billion Worth Industry:
The same source also indicates that Pinto is the latest professional athlete suspended in the post-PASPA period, i.e. since 2018 when the US Supreme Court allowed legalized sports betting. More than 10 NFL players have recently been suspended for the involvement in gambling activities in the league. The American sports gambling handle for the last five years have been estimated to more than $220 billion, according to the source.
The NHL collective bargaining agreement strictly prohibits gambling on any NHL games for the players. But AP reports that the Senators were the first team in the league to include a gambling sponsor’s logo. Their home helmets currently bear the logo of Betway, the international gambling operator. As reported, the league did not reveal details on the case, but Pinto refrained from the appeal to wait for the middle of the season and come back in the game.