NFL Agents Rebuke the Idea They Have Full Access to Sports Betting Education

Grant Mitchell
By:
Grant Mitchell
06/14/2023
News

Highlights

  • Several players have been suspended for violating gambling bylaws
  • Agents say the league’s stance is hollow if they weren’t invited to take education classes
  • The NFL is expected to make over a billion dollars from its sports betting partnerships within five years

It’s no secret that the NFL is struggling to adapt to the new widespread legal sports betting era. There have already been several suspensions that have left players saying they were simply unaware of the restrictions. 

On Monday, the NFL released a document that was being used in its league-wide gambling education program. The document claimed that, at their discretion, player agents “have the opportunity to participate in Gambling Policy education training led by NFL Compliance officials.” 

But in a turn of events, ProFootballTalk reported that at least prominent agents informed them that the league never officially invited them to participate in the educational classes.

Not on the same page

It seems to come as a surprise to no one that there has been lots of misunderstanding pertaining to the NFL and its sports gambling stance.

Players are allowed to bet on games and events in professional sports so long as they are not in the NFL. They also cannot place any bets inside the team’s facility or during team-sponsored events, such as dinners, flights, meetings, and more.

The latest casualty to the league’s sports betting policy was Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr, who was found to have placed hundreds of bets on NFL games, including ones his team played in. He also submitted a substantial amount of wagers from Indy’s facility. 

As players, team personnel, and everyone around the league look to have a better understanding of the rules, agents are upset that the league is not doing more.

“How do we have the opportunity?” one of the agents that spoke with ProFootballTalk said. “Just show up at the Eagles facility and say let us in?”

Another agent took it a step further and said that agents were not provided with a full rundown on the gambling policy until five players, headlined by Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams, were suspended earlier this year. If true, it shows a failure by the league to have its house in order and also means it partially threw its players under the bus.

Unrelenting presence

The mystery and enforcement strategy of the NFL’s gambling policy has left many confused and disillusioned. It is reminiscent of common workplace issues that are ignored or disregarded until it is time to cast someone or something in a negative light for a higher-up’s gain.

In this case, that higher-up would be the institution of the NFL. The benefit would be that it can appear as if it is coming down hard on gambling infractions to uphold its integrity as a sports betting partner without actually going the extra mile to ensure players are aware of the full ruleset. 

The league has deals with FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars that the AP said in 2022 could be worth an excess of one billion dollars in five years. Sports betting is also a behemoth despite only being legalized in 2018, with Americans betting over $220 billion since the legislative change went through. 

The American Gaming Association (AGA) also estimated that 50.4 million Americans would risk over $16 billion during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles in February. That game drew an average audience of 115.1 million viewers, which means that just about 44% of the NFL audience was expected gamblers.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said that his team has dealt with the adjustment to the sports betting era by openly communicating about the rules and restrictions. 

“Even in the season, we devote a day, a meeting a week to talk about any issues that popped up,” he said. “It's just their accountability piece. That doesn't mean you don't go through some of these issues or anything like that, but you go over it, and you talk about what's happened and how we can avoid that and the resources that we have to avoid that.” 

The NFL season gets underway on September 7. Let’s see if the league makes it to the start line without scratching any more names from the list of available players.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.