Congress Looks at NFL’s Gambling Policy

By Zayba Chauhdry, Staff Writer

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The cool fall breeze, fans cheering, and endless excitement filling the air means one thing and one thing only: Football is back. As the new season commences, there is discussion in Congress about the recent legalization of sports gambling in many states, and the potential risks of integrity of football.

Since April of 2023, ten players in the National Football League (NFL) have been suspended for gambling violations.[1] Dina Titus (D-Nev.), the co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Caucus, wrote to the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this summer to address these recent issues and league’s gambling policy. Titus stated in the letter, “When players get suspended and coaches get fired, that means the system is working. The goal, however, should be to stop these bets before they are placed.”[2]Although Titus did “appreciate” the actions of the NFL, she claimed that there is more to be done to “ensure that sports remain free from outside influence.”[3] She further suggested that the public should be educated on what will be done by the NFL to deter the gambling issue from its players.[4]

The NFL’s Gambling Policy prohibits players from “placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet, whether directly or through a third party on any NFL game, practice or other event.”[5] Players can bet on professional sports leagues, but cannot make any bets while at a team facility or venue.[6] Players also cannot have someone bet for them, and they are forbidden from entering any type of sportsbook during the NFL season.[7]

Former Detroit Lions receiver Quintez Cephus, former Lions safety C.J. Moore, and former Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney were suspended this past April indefinitely for placing bets on the NFL.[8] Additionally, Detroit Lions receiver Jameson Williams was suspended for six games earlier this year for placing bets at the team facility.[9] Williams claims he “wasn’t aware” of the gambling policy.[10]  In Titus’s letter to Goodell she also stated, “Increased education of players and coaches about league policies regarding sports betting would assure fans that games they watch, and often bet on, are fair.”[11] She concludes that if players are properly educated on the correct betting policies perhaps that would deter unpermitted sports betting.

The NFL vice president of public policy and government affairs did respond to Titus’s letter stating that “Congress and the federal government have a unique role to play in bringing enforcement actions against illegal operators…We believe that additional attention and resources are needed from lawmakers and law-enforcement to address the illicit sports betting market, which still has the power of incumbency.”[12] However, Titus was “disappointed” in the NFL’s response and is suspicious of the league’s true intentions regarding their gambling policy for its players.[13]

Do NFL players need to be properly educated on the gambling policies in order to abide by the rules? Or is the NFL purposely not addressing the issue presented by Congress for ulterior motives? George Halas once said, “At least eighty percent of the success of the football team is determined by the fight and spirit that they put into their play.”[14] If players or personnel are trying to fix a game for personal gain there simply is no fight, spirit, or authenticity there. As opportunities grow for legal betting, so does the potential for violations. Whether it may be intentional or not, the future of football could be in jeopardy.



[3] Id.

[4] Id.


[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id. at 1.


[10] Id.

[11] Id. at. 2.




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