After the NFL had to suspend five players last April for violating the league’s gambling policy, it put out a video underscoring its strict stance on gambling by emphasizing six key rules.
During a video conference call with reporters in June, the NFL laid out its six key rules that all players and coaches are obliged to abide by:
- 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 inside information
- Don’t enter a sportsbook during the NFL playing season
- Don’t play daily fantasy football
A couple of the rules, as Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, pointed out in the video, have been in place for some time.
“It comes back to, in large part, a couple of rules that have existed as long as anybody can remember,” Miller reiterated. “Don’t bet on the NFL. That’s not new because sports gambling is more available. That’s always been the case. And don’t bet when you’re at work, wherever work happens to be at that moment. That’s existed for a long time.”
Alongside the new rules, the NFL will require all rookies to attend a mandatory educational session on gambling, and league officials will visit teams in person to discuss the new sports betting rules.
NFL gambling violations leading to the video
The NFL felt compelled to put out the video clarifying its position on gambling as a result of the numerous gambling infractions perpetrated by players and staff.
In March of 2022, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley received a year-long suspension for gambling on NFL games during a mental-health break from his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin also received an indefinite suspension for violating the league’s gambling policy in December of 2022. Austin didn’t bet on the NFL, but under the league’s policy, coaches are restricted from betting on nearly every type of sport.
April’s suspension targeted Detroit Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney, who were suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games during the 2022 season. After the penalty came down, the Lions released both Cephus and Moore.
Lions wide receivers Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams were suspended six games for betting at an NFL facility on non-NFL games.
In early June, Indianapolis Colts corner back Isaiah Rodgers Sr. ”took full responsibility” when it was revealed that he was being investigated for possibly breaching the league’s gambling policy.
In fact, last week the league decided Rodgers Sr.’s fate.
He, along with Rashod Berry of the Indianapolis Colts and free agent Demetrius Taylor (who all bet on NFL games during the 2022 season), will be suspended at least until the end of the 2023 season.
Still a need for awareness on gambling restrictions
Part of the problem appears to be that some players and employees just aren’t aware of the NFL’s stringent gambling ploicy as it applies to them.
After all, only five years ago, sports betting was banned across the United States. Before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down in 2018, allowing for states to legalize sports betting, some players probably engaged in the action, but there’s no way to prove it.
Now that the activity has become a regulated industry, people are finding out.
For now, the NFL has one of the strictest policies on sports betting, and that has everything to do with maintaining the integrity of the game.
So, to avoid further suspensions, the NFL must make a greater commitment to ensuring its people know what they can and cannot do.
Panthers Head Coach Reich Supports NFL Clarification
Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich endorsed the NFL’s clarification efforts.
“It’s a big deal,” Reich said via the Charlotte Observer. “Obviously, we fully support and agree with everything the league is doing in this area. It’s something to be taken very seriously. So, you approach the education process through multiple efforts, a lot of it – we have a great support staff – and then the league sends in people to do training, more formal things.”
Reich has had a long career in the NFL. He knows all too well the importance of integrity for the sport. In fact, he coached Rodgers Sr. as a member of the Indianapolis Colts’ coaching staff from 2020 to 2022.
“Unfortunately, sometimes it takes something happening a time or two for, ‘Oh, this is real,’” Reich said. “You hate to say it, you don’t want to see it, but sometimes you don’t think it’s real until it happens. And so hopefully it’s a wake-up call for all of us to understand how serious of a matter this really is.”
Bank of America Stadium could get new retail sportsbook
Now that the countdown for North Carolina sports betting to begin is on, the Panthers’ home at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte could end up opening a sportsbook lounge, allowing bettors to congregate during home games in 2024.
House Bill 347, the new extended sports betting law in North Carolina, permits this.
According to section 18C-926, titled Places of public accommodation, subsection (a) reads:
“Permanent places of public accommodation for the purpose of placing sports wagers may be associated with each sports facility. Each sports facility may partner with one interactive sports wagering operator to provide places of public accommodation.”
For clarification, the term ‘places of public accommodation’ refers to retail sportsbooks. While all NFL fans 21 and over will have the freedom to bet online via sportsbook apps while within the state, Panthers fans visiting B of A Stadium will likely see retail betting on or near the venue for the upcoming season.