The NFL isn’t just forbidding its players, owners and employees from engaging in sports gambling, even NFL vendors and contractors received emails making it clear that even the appearance of impropriety in regards to sports betting will lead to dire consequences up to termination.
In part, the email stated:
“Gambling, particularly betting on NFL games or other sports, presents risks to the integrity of our competition and team cohesion, and can undermine the confidence and trust of our fans and colleagues in America’s greatest game. We therefore owe it to our fans and everyone associated with the League to take all appropriate steps to safeguard our game against possible threats from illegal gambling as well as gambling in a legal, regulated context.”
The email specifically detailed prohibited actions, including:
- Gambling at offshore sites or in states without legal sports betting
- Gambling in any form on NFL games
- Offering inside info or tips on a team or game
- Setting foot in a sportsbook during the season
- Betting in any form on anything in any NFL facility
- Promoting any kind of gambling entity
- Owning any part of a casino or sports betting operation
Players were also urged to give their best efforts in every game to avoid the appearance of impropriety
It may have been easier just to list gambling-related activities that are allowed. The short list of approved betting activities includes:
- Non-sports wagering, as long as no bets are place in a sportsbook
- Non-sports wagers at legally operated casinos and horse or dog racing tracks are allowed, even during the NFL season, as long as bets are placed on personal time
- Traditional fantasy leagues with prizes under $250, although participating in daily fantasy sports is a violation
The NFL explained this last policy on daily fantasy leagues, stating:
“These prohibitions are intended to avoid any appearance of impropriety which may result from participation in fantasy football games by individuals perceived to have an unfair advantage due to their preferential access to information.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will assess violations and assign consequences on a case-by-case basis. Goodell has the authority to levy fines, terminate employment and issue lifetime bans.
The NFL updated its sports betting policy last year after the repeal of PASPA, but individual emails were sent this year to bring the point home.
Another new NFL policy, in regard to sports betting, is an added statistics collection procedure that requires an observer in each stats booth to watch over the data collection process this year.