How much player gambling is happening?

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Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw, who is spending the current season on Injured Reserve, will spend all of next season on the Reverse/Suspended list for violating the league’s gambling policies. Some have wondered in the aftermath of Friday’s announced suspension of Shaw how deep the gambling rabbit hole may go.

“Not that this is the tip of the iceberg or anything, but I do think there’s more gambling going on than anyone thinks,” a veteran front-office executive told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “I believe fantasy football is a gateway drug; how many players play fantasy football, and for how much money in their leagues? Maybe not much, but the temptation has to be there to use inside info about your own team to use in a league. Players play cards and dominoes in the locker room. I just think it’s too easy for players to think they can get an edge because they’re sure they know more than the average bettor.”

It may be easy for players to think they can get an edge, but it was extremely easy for the league to catch Shaw. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Shaw went to a Las Vegas casino and placed sports bets “based on a misinterpreted understanding” of the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that allows states to adopt legalized gambling. Shaw placed bets with his own name and ID, making no effort whatsoever to hide what he was doing.

So the question becomes whether and to what extent players, coaches, etc. who want to bet and who realize they shouldn’t use their own name or ID will find a way to do so — and whether the league can detect any and all gambling activities that violate the broad policy that prohibits all betting of any kind of football.

It would be prudent for anyone who works in the NFL or for any of its teams and who is tempted to place a bet to assume that, eventually, they will be caught. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league has a robust monitoring and information network with multiple sources of information and substantial resources in place to ensure compliance with policies and to detect improper activity.

And if you’re caught, you’ll lose much more than whatever money was wagered. So to anyone who works in the NFL in any capacity and who reads these words: Don’t bet your career on making a bet on football. There are hundreds of other ways to lose money. Just pick one of those instead, and continue to make a living in your NFL job.

15 responses to “How much player gambling is happening?

  1. Well, now there is the key part to the question. I bet 90% of the players think fantasy football is just like playing Madden. It’s a competition thing just as much or more so than winning your league and pocketing 500-100,000$ Whatever the buy in was in Pre season draft. I’m pretty sure 99% know that walking up to a sports book and placing bets under their own name is real gambling.

  2. Have they banned players from being in fantasy football leagues for money? It seems inconsistent to say “It’s OK to play fantasy football and have $1,000 riding on whether Ezekiel Elliott scores a late TD in a season ending Sunday Night Football game” but “It’s not OK to bet in a casino and have $1,000 riding on whether the Cowboys score a late TD in a season ending Sunday Night Football game.”

  3. Why would a casino sports betting window ask for ID?

    Can they bet on say NBA? The Kentucky Derby?

    Unless they know the future, they have no inside information advantage.

    But the NFL wants that gambling money.

  4. How many Josh Shaws are there? I share a name with a pretty famous NBA player, what if I check into the MGM and place a bet on his current team to not cover a spread?

  5. Either the NFL’s “robust network” is a bunch of hot air or they have radically misplaced priorities, focusing resources on stuff like this while being unable to get information on violent incidents until TMZ or similar outlets get the tapes…

  6. I’ve placed plenty of sports bets, including on NFL games, in various Las Vegas casinos. Never once was I ever asked to provide an ID or player’s card in order to place those bets. It was a cash transaction at the Sports Book and I received my ticket back as proof of the bets.

    I’m curious as to why it is mentioned he placed the bets using his own ID. I’ve never known that to be a requirement.

  7. NFL likely doesn’t have a way to know when bets are being placed with bookies, illegal casinos more or less. That’s where players and likely officials go if they have 1/2 a brain.

    Officials betting is the only explanation for some of the calls we see.

  8. Officials had to be betting on last year’s playoff game between the Rams and the Saints, to no call was as blatant of a bad call as I have ever seen…

  9. I kind of feel bad for the guy. He’s on IR. It’s not like he’s playing and in a position to influence outcomes (unlike officials and the league itself). Why should rules that apply to active players apply to him? It doesn’t protect the integrity of the game in any way. If prohibiting him from gambling protects anyone, it’s the casinos, who the league should have zero interest in protecting.

  10. Seems the NFL went deep sea fishing with a fly rod. Ya, they caught something, but it a very small fish… while most players, coaches, and fans are still wondering what constitutes as a catch..

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