Updated: Jun 22
Photo Credit: Inside the Star
With the recent string of player gambling violations in the NFL, the NFL is doubling down on its efforts to control sports betting and gambling within their walls. On a conference call today with reporters, the NFL emphasized 6 major rules handed down to all players and staff. These rules are intended to clearly limit gambling in the NFL. There is a question if these rules are fair, but I feel these are necessary steps to ensure the integrity of the game. But also, so the NFL can keep cashing their checks.
All rookies will now be required to attend mandatory education sessions and a group of league officials. The NFL is making in-person visits to team facilities to emphasize and clarify what activities are prohibited as it relates to sports gambling. The NFL highlighted 6 key rules in their gaming policy and the rules are as follows:
Don't bet on the NFL.
Don't gamble at your team facility, while traveling for a road game, or staying at a team hotel.
Don't have someone bet for you.
Don't share team's "inside information".
Don't enter a sportsbook during the NFL playing season.
Don't play daily fantasy football.
The league has been coming down hard on players gambling in the NFL. This has become a big problem in recent years as the business of sports betting has seen a boom with legalized gambling across the country. Now most states are legally able to take bets on sporting events in casinos and outside of casinos like apps and restaurants. But players are wanting to get in on the action which has had a backlash effect.
Photo Credit: ESPN.com
WR Calvin Ridley was suspended indefinitely for the 2022 season for violating the league's gambling policy. He was the first big domino to fall and he won't be the last. As recently as this spring, the NFL started investigating Indianapolis Colts CB Isaiah Rodgers for possible violations of the league's gambling policy. Allegedly, a sportsbook account was opened under the name of an associate of Rodgers. It is believed that an estimated 100+ bets were placed on that account, including bets on Colts games. Most of the bets were in the $25-$50 range, but there was at least one bet slightly above $1,000. Just this past April alone, 5 NFL players were suspended in decisions related to gambling. Because of the rise in gambling violations, the NFL is increasing its monitoring on player gambling with the help of external firms and the sportsbooks.
Photo Credit: Colts.com
These violations haven't damaged the brand of the NFL, but have brought to light an issue that's growing amongst players in the NFL. Their need to gamble is growing as the legalization of sports gambling grows. And now with the ability to simply open your phone and place a bet on an app, gambling has exploded and become uncontrollable. The urge for NFL players to place an easy bet, even on their own team, is as easy as a finger swipe. Stopping players from gambling may seem like hypocrisy on the NFL's part, because they deter players from gambling while taking massive checks from big gambling sites like FanDuel and DraftKings. These companies routinely sponsor NFL games, are found with advertising all over and the NFL gets a nice check from it.
However, to play in the NFL and to work in the NFL, the rules are clearly stated, no gambling. It's legal around the country to gamble, but employees and companies have different rules outside of legal laws. If a company's policy is to not gamble on their product or share insider information, that needs to be enforced. You can always work somewhere else and you don't have to be an NFL player. This is an issue that's growing and will not go away anytime soon.