On Thursday’s episode of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network, NFL Executive Vice President of Communications and Player Health & Safety Jeff Miller was a guest and clarified the standards for players when it comes to what they can and can’t do in terms of gambling. With sports gambling on the rise as it has become legal in a significant portion of the United States, the NFL is working diligently to make sure they uphold the integrity of the game and that fans can watch with confidence that outside influences are not affecting the outcome.
With the legalization of sports gambling in so many places, what restrictions are set forth on the players? Miller gave a list of six key rules for all NFL players which extends to coaches and other team employees. The six items in regards for gambling for the players are as follows:
- Do not bet on the NFL
- Do not bet at the team facility, while traveling for a road game, or staying at the team hotel
- Do not have someone else bet for you
- Do not share team “inside information”
- Do not enter a sportsbook location during the NFL season
- Do not play daily fantasy football
In looking at this list of six items, some of them appear to be common sense. The first item is the most important that a player should not be betting on the NFL. Even if it’s a game that doesn’t involve the player, it’s simply not a look the NFL wants to have.
Taking it to the next point of betting at the team facility or on travel with the team, keeping sports betting out of the workplace when the workplace is focused on sports is understandable. Although placing a bet on an NBA game likely isn’t that egregious of a penalty if done on the team plane, the NFL has made the decision to keep betting out of the workplace and players need to abide by the rules.
Having another person bet in place of a player is possibly the most commonly violated of these restrictions simply because it could be the easiest one to break. But if there is a player who is being investigated, there is likely going to be a trail of evidence showing that they were proxy betting so it ultimately shouldn’t be worth the risk for players.
The sharing of inside information is something that goes beyond the players as other employees of the team could have pertinent information that could influence a wager. Some of the examples of this were provided on Good Morning Football in the clip at the bottom of the article.
The fifth item on the list is interesting as players are told not to enter sportsbooks during the NFL season. The exact rationale behind this could be for number of things, but ultimately it’s probably based on appearances if an NFL player is seen going in the sports book section of a casino or other betting facility.
The final item on this list is quite intriguing. While the NFL never seemed to shy away from players speaking about their fantasy football teams and even doing commercials about the subject, daily fantasy is off limits. For those who may not know how daily fantasy sports (DFS) work, rather than having a season-long roster, wagers are placed on the performance of specific players which can be purchased at set dollar amounts to fill out a lineup for a given week of the season, day, or even a particular game. Daily fantasy really came into effect when in 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act contained language that legalized daily fantasy sports. In 2007 the first DFS site came out and places such as FanDuel and DraftKings have exploded in popularity in recent years. Perhaps with the close association with sports betting and DFS, the NFL has asked its players to steer clear of DFS when it comes to football.
With anything in life in regards to rules, the easiest way to follow them is to have a better understanding of how things work. Having the six items for players to understand clearly should remove any ambiguity that players may have had before although it appears the NFL was very deliberate and informing the players of the ‘dos and don’ts’ for quite some time. Now that there’s perhaps a better understanding by the fans, when they see suspensions coming of players due to gambling there should be less scrutiny by simply knowing how rules work.
A segment of Jeff Miller’s time on Good Morning Football from Thursday can be seen in the video below.