The NFL’s gambling policy has received extensive attention in recent days, thanks to the fantasy football convention organized by Tony Romo and canceled because it was scheduled to occur on the property of a Las Vegas casino. Since then, other events have been affected by league rules that prohibit player participation in events held at casinos.
It’s created the impression that players are prohibited from entering casinos under any circumstances. That’s not the case; the league’s gambling policy allows players and all other NFL personnel to attend “legally-operated casinos and horse or dog racing tracks” for the purposes of wagering on casino games or races on their own personal time.
The problem arises when players are involved in activities that “can be perceived as constituting affiliation with or endorsement of gambling or gambling-related activities,” and the involvement of players in events held on casino property fall squarely within the prohibition.
It’s a bright-line rule that appears in the policy manual every player receives in the preseason. Even if they never read it (and how many employees actually read their policy manuals?), it shouldn’t be a surprise to Romo or anyone else to find out that casino property is off limits for any and all events or conferences or conventions or any other activities.