Like many of the policies in the NFL, their tangled gambling policy was brought to the fore recently with its admonishment of a group of players for participation in a charity sporting event that was put on at a casino. In 2015, the NFL issued a 15-page treatise for all NFL personnel including owners regarding its convoluted gambling policy. The league’s official position is that the policy is in place to guard the integrity of the game. Many critics find this laughable in it hypocrisy and point out that the policy was not collectively bargained as policy should be. Additionally, they argue the edict is so convoluted, that its presence is a figment of public relations and not of sound policy that would have the effect of preventing professional gamblers from manipulating the outcome of games.
These critics also point to the fact that the NFL has always kept its distance, but remained affiliated with many forms of gambling including having a former oddsmaker give odds on games, but not officially per their arm’s length policy. However, their potential punishment of the aforementioned players is allowable, the NFL challenges, under the auspices of its vague policy against being affiliated with any gambling inferences or operations at all. Ironically, the gambling industry benefits from the fake outrage presented by the NFL against these players.
The ire of the public against NFL policy is raised again and with the charge, the policies are designed to quell public perception rather than being an effective policy that is leveled against everyone in the same manner regardless of their status as a player. Meaning the level of influence which is usually linked to how famous a player is or how well connected. Critics offered proof of the uneven-handed policies recently when a famous quarterback had to close an organized convention because it was being held at a venue that was not a casino, but its naming rights had been leased by a casino. This was done in spite of the convention itself being a convention that promotes a new form of gambling involving fantasy leagues.
Additionally, the league’s hypocrisy in gambling policy is on display because two of the leagues’ most prominent owners representing the two most successful teams invested in this new form of gambling. Some team uniforms contain approved lottery patches although an affiliation with state lottery commissions is a big no-no in their stated gambling policy, and still others have outright contracts and are sponsored by casinos. In fact, while these NFL team owners are investing in fantasy gambling entities that are strictly forbidden with every other NFL personnel, they are also admonishing the league administration to not oppose the legalization and operation of their fantasy league gambling exploits.
It is this type of favor, hypocrisy, and collusion given to owners, successful players with influence and league operators that have seen the decline in viewership that the NFL has been experiencing as of late.