The NFL’s rules on gambling have drawn widespread criticism and questions ahead of the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, as the league seeks to balance its partnerships with sportsbooks and policies that prevent players from betting on games.
Gambling was a major topic at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual Super Bowl news conference on Monday, when he said the “integrity of the league” was the top priority.
“We want to make sure that when people watch NFL games, they know that the action on the field is genuine and without any outside influence,” Goodell said.
With days until the biggest sporting event in the US betting hub, it’s worth reviewing the NFL’s policies for its players and how the league’s stance has changed over time.
NFL Sports Betting Rules
The league has long maintained that players are not allowed to bet on NFL events. Its 2023 gaming policy states that players may never place, request or facilitate a bet, either directly or through a third party, on “any NFL game, practice or other event, such as the Combine or the Draft.”
Players also may not engage in anyone else’s NFL betting activities, such as asking someone to place an NFL-related bet on their behalf or allowing another person to use their account to place an NFL-related bet.
Additionally, players cannot enter a sportsbook during the NFL season (from the Hall of Fame Game to the Super Bowl) “except to access an area outside of a sportsbook,” the rules state. . For example, a player may pass through a sportsbook “when necessary” to get to a separate part of an entertainment complex, casino or hotel.
At the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will stay at Lake Las Vegas, about 25 miles east of the Strip.
Why the Chiefs and 49ers are staying in Lake Las Vegas, not The Strip
League rules are also specific about when and where players can bet.
Players are prohibited from betting at team or league facilities (such as practice facilities, stadiums, and offices) or while traveling with their teams (such as on a team plane or at a team hotel) to participate in a game. the NFL or on a team during the season. activity.
Can NFL players bet on other sports?
Players can bet on sports other than the NFL in states where betting is legal, subject to the NFL’s rules about entering a sportsbook and betting from the workplace.
For example, a player cannot place a bet from an NFL facility even if the bet is not on an NFL game. Detroit Lions receiver Jameson Williams and Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere were penalized this season for violating the rule. They originally received six-game suspensions, but the league updated its gaming policy in September, reducing the penalty from six games to four.
Betting on non-NFL events in the workplace or while working now carries a two-game suspension for a first offense, six games for a second offense and at least one year for a third offense.
What are the rules of the game for the Super Bowl?
Members of the two Super Bowl teams, the Chiefs and 49ers, are prohibited from engaging in any form of gambling, including casino gaming and betting on any sports.
Players from the other 30 teams can participate in “legal betting,” but not on the NFL, and they cannot participate in a sportsbook until the Super Bowl is over, the league said.
Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said last week: “The rules are no different for players and other personnel of participating teams than they would be for any other game: when it comes of business, there are no games of chance, whether sports games or otherwise.
“And any player, coach, staff, a server, who is caught or identified gambling in a casino would be eligible for the disciplinary process, and that would be addressed in the normal course of discipline as we would with any player or other staff who had evidence that the rules on gambling were being violated.”
The NFL’s disciplinary process for in-game infractions
Violations of the NFL’s playing policy are decided by Goodell or his designee on a case-by-case basis under the 2023 rules.
“Discipline may include, but is not limited to, a fine, suspension, termination of employment and/or banishment from the NFL for life,” the rules state.
Below are the basic suspensions for gambling policy violations, “with possible upward or downward adjustments,” according to the rules, which note: “Nothing in this policy prevents the commissioner from imposing further discipline for other types of prohibited conduct.”
- Betting on the NFL: Indefinite suspension, minimum one year or minimum two years if a player bets on an NFL game involving his team.
- Actual or attempted game repair: Permanent banishment from the NFL
- Insider information and tips: Indefinite suspension, minimum of one year.
- Third party or proxy betting: Indefinite suspension, minimum of one year.
- Betting (non-NFL) in the workplace or while working:
- First offense: two-game suspension without pay
- Second offense: six-game suspension without pay
- Third offense: Suspension without pay for at least one year
How has the NFL’s stance on gambling changed?
The AthleticMike Jones explained in a recent article how the NFL’s complicated relationship with sports betting has evolved:
Since the legalization of sports betting, the NFL has worked hard to walk a tightrope when it comes to partnering with companies like Caesars, FanDuel and DraftKings and also ensuring that players avoid activities that would compromise the integrity of the game. The league has not yet released figures on how much revenue partnerships with gambling companies generate, but according to the American Gaming Association (AGA), the NFL generates $2.3 billion a year in revenue from those deals.
League officials long disapproved of betting on NFL games and worried that participation would lead to player involvement and questions about the temptation to fix games. But once the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Law in 2018, they felt the need to evolve as well.
“The relationship the league has with sports betting changed for a specific reason, and that’s because the world changed,” Miller said of the league’s efforts to promote responsible sports betting practices. “The Supreme Court struck down (the Law for the Protection of Professional and Amateur Sports) back in 2018, five years and a few odd months ago. As a result, we had to rethink how we engage with legalized sports gambling, and that’s what we’ve done. …And we will continue to analyze and examine how we do that in the hopes of being the best we can to protect the integrity of the game in a world where the rules have changed.”
(Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)