As legal sports betting continues to grow in the US, the NFL, which is the most popular sports league in the country, keeps getting involved in cases of violating legal sports betting policies. The NFL had already suffered almost a dozen suspensions of both players and team personnel due to issues with legal sports betting but it seems that it keeps adding new violations to the list.
A second wave of investigations has started, digging up into more NFL illegal betting allegations. A recent ESPN report showed that the NFL had launched another investigation into possible violations of the league’s gambling policy. Since the US Supreme Court ruled on the legalization of sports betting outside the state of Nevada in 2018, the professional sports league has had almost a dozen suspension cases due to violations of gambling rules.
Widespread Legalization of Sports Betting Becomes the Reason for Numerous League Policy Violations
While the NFL was against the widespread legalization of sports betting in the US, in the past five years, it had come to terms with the current legal status of sports betting across most states and has even allowed its players to bet on sports other than the NFL. Under the NFL legal betting policy, coaches and team staff may also participate in sports betting if it does not involve NFL games.
One of the conditions that NFL players and team staff must meet is to participate in such activities only if they are not located at a league or team facility. Those who violate this statute will face a six-game suspension. The NFL league also prohibits its personnel from placing bets on NFL games or events in other leagues. The penalty for this type of violation is a one-year suspension.
The report still does not provide any details about the violations that have been investigated but it can be concluded that the NFL has been very proactive as there has been a prominent uptick in gambling-related issues in the league.
Up until now, sports betting has been legalized in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, point spreads and other odds that have previously been off-limits are now included in pregame shows, with numerous sportsbook commercials also integrated into NFL games. The more betting opportunities there are, however, the higher the potential for gambling policy violations.
NFL Educates More than 17,000 People about League Gambling Policy but Rules Are Easily Circumvented
According to the ESPN report, the NFL is teaching more than 17,000 people annually, offering information about the league’s gambling policy. Those involved in the annual education include all NFL players, coaches, and the staff employed by the 32 teams. The NFL personnel and stakeholders are also participating in the league policy education process
According to David Highill, vice president and general manager for the NFL, the same training system cannot fit everyone, which is why players are often participating in training sessions, which are held in person. Additionally, they are also required to take part in online courses and the league is issuing regular reminders throughout each season.
While Highill stated that there should not be any misunderstanding of the gambling policies of the NFL, there are still some challenges to the proper regulation. Players could participate in offshore sports betting with sportsbooks that operate outside the regulated US market. What is more, betting with a local bookmaker who is not a partner with the league is also possible, which further allows NFL players, coaches, and league personnel to violate NFL policies and get away with it.