Super Bowl Players Were Banned from Baccarat While in Vegas

NFL players banned from casino in Las Vegas

Ahead of last month’s Super Bowl LVIII, in which the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, the NFL came under a great deal of criticism for its rules on gambling.

To summarize, players from both teams were forbidden from participating in any form of gambling, even online baccarat, while in Las Vegas. As explained by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, this was in order to protect the “integrity of the league”.

It is the league’s long-term policy that players may not bet on NFL events. In the NFL’s 2023 gambling policy, it states that a player may never place, solicit or facilitate a bet, directly or through a third party, on any NFL game, practice, or other event, such as the Combine or Draft.

Furthermore, players are not allowed to join with others’ bets, ask someone else to place a bet for them, or use someone else’s account to place an NFL-related bet. In fact, from the NFL Hall of Fame Game right through to the Super Bowl, players are not even allowed to enter a sportsbook unless they have to pass through it to reach a separate part of a complex.

The league’s rules do allow players to bet on other sports in states where it is legal, as long as they are not placing the bet from a team or league facility or from within a sportsbook.

The Super Bowl’s Gambling Rules

These rules became rather more severe for the Super Bowl. All players from the Chiefs and 49ers teams were banned from taking part in any form of gambling, including casino games such as baccarat, and from betting on any sport.

Players in the league’s other teams were allowed to take part in “legal gambling” but not to place bets on the NFL. Furthermore, they were not allowed to enter a sportsbook until the Super Bowl was over.

Speaking ahead of the game, Jeff Miller, the NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said:

“The rules are no different for the participating teams’ players and other personnel as they would be for any other game: When on business, there is no gambling, whether it be sports gambling or otherwise. And any player, coach, personnel, yours truly, who would be caught or identified gambling at a casino would be eligible for the disciplinary process, and that would be addressed in the normal course of discipline as we would any player or other personnel who there was evidence that was violating the rules around gambling.”

The NFL’s Disciplinary Process for Gambling Offences

If a player breaks the NFL’s gambling policy, then according to the 2023 rules, the punishment is decided by Commissioner Goodell or his designee. The rules state that, “Discipline may include, without limitation, a fine, suspension, termination of employment and/or banishment from the NFL for life.”

The rules do give some baseline suspensions for various violations, but they may be adjusted both up and down by the commissioner. For example, betting on the NFL carries an indefinite suspension with a minimum of one year or a minimum of two years if the bet is placed on a game involving the players’ team.

Anything related to game-fixing results in a permanent ban from the NFL. If a player is found to be providing inside information or tips or participating in proxy betting, then they face indefinite suspension with a minimum of one year. Those who are found placing bets on things other than the NFL while in the workplace face a two-game suspension for the first violation, a six-game suspension for the second, and suspension without pay for at least a year for the third violation.

The NFL’s Changing Attitude towards Gambling

The NFL has a difficult relationship with sports betting. Since the activity was legalized, the league has had to find a balance between partnering with sports betting operators and ensuring that nothing compromises the integrity of the league.

So far, the NFL has not published how much revenue is generated by partnerships with gambling operators, but the American Gaming Association (AGA) has said that the deals bring in $2.3 billion each year.

Prior to the Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, the NFL had been firmly against betting on the league. However, once the Act was revoked, it was clear that the league must evolve.

Jeff Miller said that the Supreme Court’s decision meant that the league had to rethink how it engaged with sports betting and that they will continue to assess the situation in order to maintain the sport’s integrity. However, for the time being, it seems that while NFL players can enjoy online baccarat when at home in states where it is legal, they won’t be able to pop into a casino when traveling for a game.

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