Wayne Gretzky Knew About Wife’s Gambling

Hockey great Wayne Gretzy has been caught on tape trying to make his wife’s illegal gambling charges go away.

Wayne Gretzky was recorded on a wiretap talking to the alleged financier of a gambling ring, discussing how the hockey great’s wife could avoid being implicated, a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Thursday. Gretzky, coach and part-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, can be heard on wiretaps made within the past month talking about his wife with assistant coach Rick Tocchet, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Gretzky’s wife, actress Janet Jones, allegedly bet at least $100,000 on football games over the course of the investigation by state authorities, the person said. There is no evidence that Gretzky placed any bets, according to the person.

Authorities say from Dec. 29 through Feb. 5 — the day of the Super Bowl — bettors placed a total of $1.7 million in wagers with the ring run by a New Jersey state trooper, Tocchet and a South Jersey man. All face charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy and are scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court in Mount Holly on Feb. 21, the state Attorney General’s office said Thursday. Jones has not been charged.

Investigators say about a half-dozen current NHL players placed bets with the ring and are looking into whether anyone involved in the 5-year-old operation, which authorities say had a connection to organized crime in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, wagered on NHL games. Gretzky is not the main focus of the probe, the person said

This certainly sounds serious, although it shouldn’t be. One presumes that the authorities will be more interested in testimony against the ring’s kingpins than in any of the gamblers.

What strikes me as odd, in addition to the fact that betting on sports games is criminalized, is that anyone would need to bet illegally on an NFL game since one can bet legally through Las Vegas casinos and other venues.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. floyd says:

    in some states the government not only wants to be your bookie;but your PIMP as well!next they’ll want to be your pusher too!all this is kinda icky since they already think they’re your mommy&daddy, what a jealous god government makes![lol]

  2. Wayne says:

    How many millions has Jordan lost betting on his golf games? How many millions did people lost in illegal betting (betting among friends or bar patron) on sports everyday. Until I see attempts on fixing some games or events, I see this as a blown out of proportion story.

  3. Mark says:

    I agree with Wayne: if there was no betting on hockey games, this is much ado about nothing as far as the people placing the bets is concerned. Now, as for the ringleaders, that is a different story…

  4. yetanotherjohn says:

    Vegas requires that you bet in person (I think its a state law). So what the illegale betting is doing is offering 1) convenience (place your bet by phone) and 2) potentially different odds than Vegas (I have no idea how much if any the vegas and illegal odds differ). There might also be a difference in the security of the bet (not in paying off, but whether you have to put the money in up front).

    I think this is the case of a standard racketering investigation coinciding with a famous name.