- Golden Knights announce the team has terminated a partnership with a Mexico-based sports betting tout
- Sponsorship had just been announced last Wednesday, but the team received immediate backlash
- Partnership raised questions about potential conflicts of interest
On Saturday, the Vegas Golden Knights announced that the team has ended its sponsorship agreement with UpickTrade.com, a sports betting tout service. In a statement, the team said,
“The organization will not have additional comments on the matter at this time.”
The move comes just days after the Golden Knights announced the partnership with the company. The team said last Wednesday that it had entered a multi-year partnership with the Mexico-based site that sells sports betting picks. UpickTrade.com was labeled as the Official Sports Pick Service Partner of the Knights. No financial terms of the partnership were revealed.
Decision Widely Panned
It didn’t take long for the move to receive negative reviews from fans and sports betting industry personnel alike. Robert Walker, former director of the MGM Mirage sportsbook, said,
“I’m not surprised the agreement ended as quickly as it started. I think the Knights’ management staff just lacked a fundamental understanding of the hole they were digging themselves. I am somewhat thankful, though, as I plan to use this case any time the leagues bring up integrity. Hopefully, all can learn from this and move on. At some point, common sense will trump money.”
The Knights became the first American professional sports franchise to enter a legal partnership with a sportsbook when it agreed to a deal with William Hill back in 2018.
That move came shortly after the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, which has cleared the way for a number of states outside Nevada to legalize the activity. Less than three years after the SCOTUS decision, all four major American pro sports leagues have their own sponsorship deals with regulated sportsbooks around the world.
Conflicts of Interest?
However, teams have typically drawn a line when it comes to endorsing tout services. These services are often seen as sketchy in nature due to their willingness to make unsubstantiated claims of success. Some touts have even been known to give out picks on both sides of the same game so that at least half of their customers will come away victorious. Pro sports teams entering financial agreements with tout services raises questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Gaming historian David Schwartz told the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
“The sportsbooks are in the business of taking bets either way. Touts, on the other hand, are trying to pick winners and tell people how to bet. So it raises a lot of questions if the team and tout have a financial arrangement together. If the tout picks against the team, what does that mean?”
UpickTrade charges customers $89 per month, per sport, to provide picks. The company’s website claims to have over 6,000 subscribers that now “make a living” off of sports betting. The site also says that its average return on investment is up around 700 percent.
“It probably wasn’t the best decision by the Knights, but at least they’ve rescinded that. It’s a valuable lesson for any team that there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed. It shows how organizations have to understand the business and culture of sports betting.”
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu …