NFL won’t allow Super Bowl players to gamble during week in Las Vegas

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When the NFL holds the Super Bowl in Las Vegas for the first time next month, fans, media members, sponsors and league personnel will descend on the gambling capital of the United States. But players on the two participating teams will be barred from betting in any form that week, including on casino games or any sport.

That prohibition, part of a modified gambling policy for players distributed Sept. 29 by the league to teams, players and the NFL Players Association, is a component of the league’s evolving relationship with gambling, which will be under intense scrutiny during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium.

NFL players who are in Las Vegas but are not members of the participating teams are permitted to engage in legal gambling but are prohibited from betting on the NFL and from entering a sportsbook until after the Super Bowl.

The NFL once viewed sports betting as a threat. Now the league wants the action.

The updated policy tells players, “You may not enter a sportsbook during the NFL playing season (Hall of Fame Game through Super Bowl), except to access an area outside of a sportsbook (e.g., you may pass through a sportsbook where necessary to access a separate area of the entertainment, casino, or hotel complex).”

That policy informs them, “You may not engage in any form of Gambling in any club or League facility at any time (e.g., practice facility, stadium, office) or while traveling with your Club (e.g., on a team plane or in a team hotel) to participate in an NFL game (preseason, regular or postseason) or in-season team activity (e.g., joint practice).”

The policy also says, “You may engage in legal gambling (but not on NFL football) on personal time while traveling for League or club events (e.g., ‘Tentpole’ events such as Draft, Pro Bowl or Super Bowl) other than for participation in your Club’s game or in-season team activity (e.g., joint practice) and unless otherwise prohibited by your employing Club.”

Coaches and players from the two teams competing in the Super Bowl will spend the week leading up to the game in Las Vegas. Many other NFL players routinely show up in the Super Bowl host city for related events during the week.

Ex-LSU star Kayshon Boutte arrested, charged in thousands of illegal sports bets

The participating teams will be determined Sunday by the winners of the two conference championship games. The Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC matchup, and the San Francisco 49ers host the Detroit Lions in the NFC game.

The NFL revised the penalties associated with its gambling policy as part of a Sept. 29 communication to teams, players and the NFLPA. Under the modified policy, any player who bets on an NFL game receives an indefinite suspension of at least a one year, increased to at least two years if the player bets on any games involving his own team. Any “actual or attempted game fixing” by a player results in permanent banishment from the NFL, under the revised policy.

The revisions decreased the penalty for players found to have bet legally on other sports while in the NFL workplace. In that case, the modified policy reduced the suspension for a first-time offender to two games without pay, down from six games before the modifications. A second offense results in a six-game suspension, under the revised policy, and a third offense produces a suspension of at least one year.

Those modifications reduced suspensions previously imposed on Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams and Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere.

The league had suspended Petit-Frere in June for six games for placing bets on non-NFL sports while at the team’s facility. The NFL also suspended Indianapolis Colts cornerback and kick returner Isaiah Rodgers, Colts defensive end Rashod Berry and free agent defensive tackle Demetrius Taylor for at least the entire 2023 season. According to the league, they were suspended for betting on NFL games during the 2022 season.

The NFL suspended four Lions players, including Williams, and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney in April. Williams initially was suspended for six games, along with Lions wide receiver Stanley Berryhill, for what the league called “other gambling policy violations, including betting from an NFL facility on non-NFL games.”

In March, the league reinstated wide receiver Calvin Ridley after suspending him for all of the 2022 season for betting on NFL games. Ridley played for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season after they obtained him in an offseason trade with the Atlanta Falcons. Ridley was the first NFL player suspended for betting on games since the Arizona Cardinals’ Josh Shaw in 2019.

The suspensions occurred at a time when the NFL and its teams have embraced legalized sports betting as a revenue source through partnerships, after previously opposing efforts to spread its legalization.

New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte was arrested Thursday in Louisiana on allegations of illegal sports betting while he was in college at LSU.

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