April 19, 2024 8 min read

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NFL Gambling Policy Explained

When the idea of legalizing sports betting was first floated, the National Football League was one of its most determined critics. Then, the league changed tune and asked for an ill-defined “integrity fee” that was also dropped later on. Today, the NFL’s relationship with sports gambling remains one that periodically undergoes adjustments.

Now, the NFL gambling policy is a set of rules that seeks to protect the integrity of the sport and ensure that fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to insiders who place wagers on games because they know something that the public does not.

Yet, there have been numerous instances of NFL players caught gambling in some form, whether this is Detroit Lions WR Jameson Williams, Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley, or Indianapolis Colts CB Isaiah Rodgers, mandating certain changes, the most recent of which came on September 29, 2023.

What is the NFL Gambling Policy

The NFL Gambling Policy is actually not at all difficult to comprehend or follow. The rules simply state that people involved with the league cannot gamble on sports. This covers NFL personnel, who must comply with the league’s core rule, which is:

“All NFL Personnel are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet, whether directly or indirectly through a third party, on any NFL game, practice or other event.”

The fact that there have been some issues with enforcing this rule, or that some players who have been caught gambling, denied knowing of the rule, has prompted the league to work harder on ensuring that there is awareness for the NFL Gambling Policy in the first place.

The NFL even tweeted the 6 KEY Rules for ALL NFL Players to follow as the Super Bowl was confirmed for Las Vegas, Nevada. The rules are as follows:

  1. Don’t bet on the NFL
  2. Don’t gamble at your team facility while traveling for a road game or staying at a team hotel
  3. Don’t have someone bet for you
  4. Don’t share team “inside information
  5. Don’t enter a sportsbook during the NFL playing season
  6. Don’t play daily fantasy football (DFS)

The rules then went into specific details about the Do’s and Don’ts although admittedly, the focus was squarely on what is prohibited under the NFL Gambling Policy. For example, under Rule 1, “Don’t’ bet on the NFL,” the league explained that this covered a player’s team’s games, another team’s games, or outcome, points scored, parlay, prop, and future bets on the NFL.

Explaining the NFL Gambling Policy with Examples

To ensure that potential guilty parties wouldn’t feign a lack of knowledge in the matter, the NFL also enumerated the events that cannot be bet on individually, including:

  • NFL Draft
  • Combine
  • Pro Bowl
  • NFL Flag Events
  • NFL Honors

Players are also prohibited from entering a sportsbook during the NFL season, effectively locking out sportsbooks for players until after the Super Bowl is over. However, the NFL Gambling Policy does not restrict other forms of gambling.

This means that players can have fun at casinos, or even bet on other sports, and non-NFL events, for one. The same courtesy is not extended to NFL personnel – NFL personnel must not bet on other sports. The issue with entering a sportsbook in person is usually easily avoidable by simply holding an account and wagering online.

But then again, players must be mindful of Rule 2 “Don’t gamble at your team facility while traveling for a road game or staying at a team hotel,” meaning that there indeed are pitfalls that must be observed very carefully and that require from players to be actively reminding themselves of what is allowed and what isn’t.

The NFL Gambling Policy also further states that NFL personnel cannot purposefully underperform or sabotage games to produce a desired outcome.

“NFL Personnel shall not throw or fix any NFL game or in any way influence its outcome, statistics, or score; or otherwise manipulate or attempt to manipulate any other aspect of any NFL game for a gambling-related purpose.”

There are other details of the policy, but we feel that these are the most important ones that ought to be known about.

What Is the Penalty for Breaching the NFL Gambling Policy?

The penalties for breaching the NFL Gambling Policy will actually vary. The NFL updated its guidelines in 2023, ahead of the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, but in general, players can face suspensions, although the severity of the transgression will determine the severity of the penalty.

Essentially, there are several main types of offenses that mandate a tougher response from the NFL when it comes to betting and gambling offenses. They are as follows.

  • Betting on the NFL: A player can expect to be suspended indefinitely, and usually for a minimum of one or two years. The severity depends on whether the team wagered on a game involving his team.
  • Match-fixing: The most severe offense which mandates a permanent ban from the NFL.
  • Inside trading: Sharing information that is only privy to internal communicational channels to stilt the outcome of betting contests would mandate an indefinite suspension, with the minimum set at one year.
  • Betting on non-NFL while at work: Betting is prohibited while at work, and doing so will usually come with a range of penalties, from reprimands to suspensions, fines, or several game suspensions without pay.

So, What’s the Catch with non-NFL Event Betting?

Alright, so we have already touched on the pitfalls of NFL betting. When reading the NFL Gambling Policy, it becomes apparent that there are certain challenges, and some players may be genuinely confused.

One of the biggest catches is who can bet on non-NFL sports. Players are allowed to, but they cannot do so while traveling for a game, or staying at team facilities and hotels that were booked by the team.

You similarly cannot go to a bar, while away for a game, and bet as an NFL player, as it would still be considered a violation. NFL personnel have it much harder, though, as they are considered true insiders and cannot bet on any sports while the NFL Season is on, which is pretty much most sports.

The penalties applied in the instances of offenses will range from a few-game suspensions for players, to a permanent removal from the team and the NFL, if these are repeat violations. NFL personnel may face disciplinary actions, or be removed from the league if the behavior continues.

Examples of Players Who Have Violated the NFL Gambling Policy

At the beginning of the article, we briefly touched on several high-profile cases involving NFL players who have violated the rules and wagered on games, including their own in some instances. Among a string of recently suspended players are Washington Commanders defensive lineman Shaka Toney, free agent wide receiver Quintez Cephus, free agent safety C. J. Moore, free agent defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor, and free agent linebacker Rashod Berry.

Now, interestingly, all of these five players have been reinstated by the NFL, which also goes to show that the league is not on a nuclear path to banning all players that may have wagered. The league acknowledges that it may have not educated players adequately about the issue and is looking past this. However, there have been several high-profile cases involving athletes, not just in the NFL, which means that moving forward, the NFL Gambling Policy is not an optional extra, but a mandatory read for any incoming player.

NFL Gambling Policy FAQs

Are NFL players allowed to enter casinos?

Yes, NFL players may enter casinos and play there unless it is an NFL event in some capacity.

Are NFL players allowed to enter casinos?

Yes, NFL players may enter casinos and play there unless it is an NFL event in some capacity.

Is it true that NFL players cannot place a bet?

No, it’s not true. NFL players can bet on non-NFL events, but they must meet specific guidelines, including not betting while on the job or traveling with the team, among other rules.

What are NFL players not allowed to do when betting?

They are not allowed to bet on NFL events, fix games, trade information, ask third parties to place a bet in their stead, or gamble while at team facilities or away on games, as well as withheld from entering a sportsbook the entire NFL season. They can still bet remotely if the other conditions are met.

Can NFL players fix games and get away with it?

No. If an NFL player fixes a game, he will be permanently banned from the league.

Can Super Bowl players enter and gamble at casinos?

No, currently NFL players who make it to the Super Bowl must observe abstention from all forms of gambling.

Editor

Luke is a media graduate who is looking to build upon his experiences from his strong love of sports betting and casino games which started during his first year of college. His fresh mindset always brings new content ideas to the team and his editorial skills will continue to grow with the help of the upper management team at GamblingNews.com.

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