For obvious reasons, major league sports prohibit their players from being able to make wagers on their sport. It does not matter if the bet isn’t even for their team, it is not allowed. However, the National Football League takes this a step further and actually bans its players from not only betting on football but also from participating from any type of gambling activity.
The reason behind this ban is the fear that every sport has. They are afraid of underhanded gambling agents somehow convincing players to influence games. In addition, this fear extends not just to players but also to referees, and NFL employees. As such, the ban on gambling extends to those as well.
Doesn’t that sound a little extreme you ask? It may, but consider what could happen if a non-star rookie in gambling debt was asked to throw a game. What impact would that have? Besides the monetary impact it would have on those taking or making bets, it would also affect the integrity of not just the player but also the game in general.
Imagine if a big name impact player like Ray Lewis was coerced into fixing games? Imagine the impact it would have on the Ravens. Furthermore, what impact would it on the league. Sponsors might pull out, fans stop coming to games, TV contracts could get pulled, and more.
About the only thing that the NFL seems to let slide through the cracks are charity poker events. The reason that a charity poker event gets a pass is that prizes are typically non-cash prizes and many of the events are held in non-casino locales. An event that was held last year at a Vegas casino was nixed by the NFL due to their gambling policy.
A policy like the NFL’s anti-gambling policy does indeed appear extreme, but it is in place for a reason. The last thing the league needs is a major sports betting and game fixing scandal. We have seen the impact such scandals have had in college sports in the past and such a scandal in the NFL could have devastating consequences.