NFL betting policies are undergoing a major overhaul, commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Friday memo.
The NFL betting policy, which had been facing criticism, now includes stricter penalties for players wagering on their own team. However, it reduced penalties for players wagering on non-NFL games while at work.
Ten players have been handed various suspensions in 2023 for betting violations dating back to last season. These changes mean that Detroit Lions WR Jameson Williams and Tennessee Titans OL Nick Petit-Frere will be reinstated Monday after serving four-game suspensions. Williams and Petit-Frere had been subject to six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL games under the previous policy.
“We are working with the NFL Players Association to develop a program to educate players regarding the changes to the policy and that program will roll out shortly,” Goodell said.
Statement on new NFL betting policy
A joint statement from the NFL and NFLPA reads:
“The NFL and NFL Players Association share a longstanding and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of the game. The NFL periodically reviews the gambling policy in consultation with the NFLPA and clubs to ensure it is responsive to changing circumstances and fully addresses this commitment.”
Per the new rules:
- Actual or attempted game fixing: permanent banishment from the NFL
- Betting on NFL football: indefinite suspension, minimum of one year; becomes minimum of two years if player bets on an NFL game involving his team
- Inside information and tipping: indefinite suspension, minimum of one year
- Third party or proxy betting: indefinite suspension, minimum of one year
Lesser NFL betting penalties at work
The NFL also changed its policy on players wagering while using team facilities or otherwise ‘on the clock’ for business:
- First violation: two-game suspension without pay
- Second violation: six-game suspension without pay
- Third violation: suspension without pay for at least one year
Commissioner explains rule changes
Goodell explained the decision in the statement:
“We periodically review the NFL Gambling Policy to ensure that it is responsive to changing circumstances and fully addresses our commitment to protect the integrity of our game. In recent weeks, we have consulted with many of you and with the NFL Players Association to ensure that our policies are clear, properly communicated, and focused on protecting the integrity of the game and the reputations of everyone connected with the NFL.
“The revised gambling policy for NFL players that we are issuing today provides that clarity and focus, and gives clear guidance to players about the consequences of violating the policy. Specifically, it increases the minimum penalties for gambling and related activities in connection with NFL games.
“Lawful gambling (other than on NFL football) remains permissible outside of the workplace, and the penalties for gambling in the workplace have been revised. This policy applies to NFL players only; non-player personnel remain subject to the 2023 Gambling Policy for NFL Personnel.”
Why NFL policies faced criticism
NFL season is the top generator of handle and revenue for the sports betting industry. After decades of being anti-wagering, the league has fully embraced sports betting, and has partnership deals with sportsbooks.
As a result, the league has faced increased scrutiny, given that multiple players have been suspended for violating the NFL gambling policy, dating back to last season.
The league has amped up its player education efforts and also revamped its gambling policies.