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The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a revised gambling policy during the Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas that will have more lenient rules surrounding non-sports betting in casinos.
An NFL spokesperson broke down the changes in an email to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio:
“The union and league agreed that participating players in Las Vegas would be considered to be on personal time for the purpose of the gambling policy, except during periods when they were scheduled for Pro Bowl-related events. Players were able to enter casinos and participate in legal non-sports gambling. They were not at any time, however, permitted to enter or use a sports book and were prohibited [from] wagering on sports. Both the union and league recognized that the agreement applied only to Pro Bowl week and would not affect the application of the CBA or gambling policy for any other NFL game or event.”
Add it to the growing list of complications that has accompanied the NFL wholeheartedly embracing gambling from a business perspective and partnering with a number of sports books, all while also attempting to police players, coaches and referees from betting on NFL games and destroying the legitimacy and credibility of the results.
That people can now legally bet from their phones in many states has only added to the complications. A number of NFL players, including wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Jameson Williams, have faced suspensions for violating the gambling policy.
And it doesn’t help that many players haven’t always felt properly educated on the various ins and outs of the gambling policy.
“I had no idea,” one veteran free agent told Kalyn Kahler of The Athletic earlier in June regarding the rule that players couldn’t bet on other sports while on team grounds, which was the violation that led to Williams’ suspension. “I don’t think any player knows about that. That’s so specific. If players know about that, kudos to them.”
Another player said teams didn’t do much to educate the players before the latest round of suspensions in April.
“They detailed the rule, and to that point I hadn’t been in many team meetings that they carved out time for it,” that veteran player noted . “It’s like a page in your training camp compliance meetings. They spend like four minutes on it. It’s like, ‘Yeah, don’t gamble on the NFL. You guys know this.’ Nobody spends time on it.”
More and more time will need to be devoted going forward. The NFL’s relationship to gambling is only going to grow more comprehensive as the money rolls in, and more complicated for players in the process.