The two biggest NFL betting rules have been around for a long time, league officials said on a Tuesday call:
- Don’t bet on the NFL.
- Don’t gamble at work — including from your phone.
Yet, with an increase in NFL betting investigations, the league felt a need to further reiterate its gambling policies and education procedures with reporters. LSR first reported last week on the NFL’s push to highlight sports betting rules with players, notably rookies.
League’s NFL betting slideshow
The presentation to reporters included informational slides, similar to those that the league shows players, coaches and staffers in mandatory trainings. The league has updated its policies following a rash of incidents.
“It comes back to, in large part, a couple rules that have existed as long as anyone can remember,” NFL executive VP of communications, public affairs & policy Jeff Miller said. “Don’t bet on the NFL. That’s not new because sports gambling has been available to people. That’s always been the case. And don’t bet when you’re at work, wherever work happens to be in that moment. That’s been in existence for a long time. The rules around it are pretty straightforward.
“Do people — players, coaches, league personnel — need to be reminded from time to time? Sure. Of course. And educational efforts have stepped up as a result of the fact that the accessibility of sports gambling has changed. But the basic principles as it relates most importantly to the integrity of the game haven’t changed. And won’t in that regard.”
NFL betting trainings occurring now
NFL VP & chief compliance officer Sabrina Perel and her team have completed in-person training sessions with approximately half the clubs in the league at this point, she said.
Perel says coaches have urged to players to pay attention and follow gambling policy, because violating it can impact the entire team.
“We’re on the road. We’ve got 20 teams on the calendar,” Perel said. “I think it’s just really the emphasis that these key rules are presented. And again giving (players) the opportunity to ask questions on it. And it’s just reinforcement and continuing to get it out there.”
No comment on NFL betting probes
Miller would not comment on the status of the league’s most recent gambling investigation involving Indianapolis Colts player Isaiah Rodgers Sr.
Miller also did not elaborate on whether there are other ongoing probes.
However, US Integrity founder and CEO Matt Holt told LSR recently that there are still more NFL betting investigations from last season that have yet to be disclosed. They include players making prohibited wagers from their team practice facilities.
IT solutions to help players
Restricting access to gambling apps at practice facilities could help protect players from themselves, though it is unclear whether the league will implement them.
Anonymous players told The Athletic they were unaware of the policy that prohibited wagers while at work. The league defended the policy.
“They’re at work. We’re very clear there. If you’re going to do that, do that on your personal time,” Perel said. “If our No. 1 mission is to protect integrity, why are we having gambling in the workplace?”
NFL: Integrity of games must be No. 1
The NFL cannot afford any mass manipulation of games.
To date, investigations involving the league, sportsbooks, state regulators and third-party monitors have proven fruitful in catching those betting in the regulated market.
“The bottom line for us, at a point that we can’t relent on nor break from, is that the integrity of the game has to come first,” Miller said. “So when we do have a case, and as I’ve mentioned that we share the results with you, that doesn’t satisfy anybody. That’s just a reminder that we need to be vigilant and do the work and continue to educate everybody involved with the NFL. And then when there are violations, pursue those as much as possible.”
Education efforts will continue
Mandatory minicamp presentations have largely been completed. Still, education efforts will continue throughout the year.
“We won’t stop after kickoff,” Perel said. “We regularly remind all personnel, including players, what the rules of the road are. “And we do that, whether it’s through written reminders, we’ve got supplementary educational tools that we make available to the clubs, and ask that all of that to be distributed out to the players. So it’s just an ongoing process throughout the season. And this is the time that we really ramp it up and make these in-person presentations.”
Asked about the perceived hypocrisy that owners can profit from gambling partnerships while others are prohibited, Perel said it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.
“The revenue generated is shared,” Miller added.