One of the unanticipated side effects of regulated sports betting has been a rash of professional football players who have been caught either placing bets from team facilities or betting on their own team. This outbreak has been especially shocking given the fate of players who have been caught betting on their own teams, such as the disgraced baseball player Pete Rose. Late last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell adjusted the league’s gambling policy for employees to further punish players who bet on their teams, but softened penalties for players who bet on other sports.
Under the terms of the new policy, players who bet on their teams will be banned from the league for two full seasons. Players who bet on any NFL game will face a one year ban from playing. This is great news for players such as Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus, Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney who were suspended indefinitely for betting from NFL facilities, but who can now apply for reinstatement after sitting out the 2023 season.
Players who get caught betting on sports besides football from a team facility are now subject to a two game suspension for their first offense and sliding scale for each consecutive offense. This change is great news for Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nick Petit-Frere and free agent Stanley Berryhill, who were both serving six game suspensions for gambling from team facilities earlier this season. Both players were automatically reinstated when the new policy took effect.
The NFL explained the reasoning for the adjusted sports betting policy in a memo saying, “The NFL and NFL Players Association share a longstanding and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of the game. The NFL periodically reviews the gambling policy in consultation with the NFLPA and clubs to ensure it is responsive to changing circumstances and fully addresses this commitment.”