Many of you may not know this, but NFL players are forbidden to engage in any type of gambling activity as long as they play in the National Football League. It doesn't matter whether they are betting on sports, betting on blackjack, or playing bingo, they cannot place a bet.
Furthermore, this ban extends to NFL officials and even those that work in the front office. You may have read reports of one NFL ref being involved in pro poker and nearly losing her chance to work as a result. That sounds pretty far fetched, especially to those of us that like to play a little poker or bet on horses from time to time. However, the league is doing this to protect the integrity of the league.
How are they keeping league integrity by preventing Millionaires from playing
blackjack? They aren't. While this policy definitely applies to the Peyton Manning's of the NFL, a good number of players in the league do not make Millions. Many, especially rookies and second year non-star players, make just a few hundred thousand a year. Should those players get hooked by the gambling bug and run up serious gambling debt, there is opportunity there for crooked bookies, sportsbooks, and others to try and take advantage of the situation.
As we all know, a team doesn't have to lose the game in order to make or lose
sportsbooks some serious money. A missed tackle leading to a meaningless touchdown that happens to cover the spread could mean Millions. The last thing the NFL needs is their players in the pocket of a sportsbook and the NFL's anti-gambling policy helps to prevent this scenario.
While the NFL's policy on gambling may not be a popular one, it is a necessary evil. The league, teams, and even the players have too much at stake to risk a fixing scandal. Of course, if a player really wants to gamble, they could always request a trade to the Lions or the Browns.