NFLPA warns sports agents about league’s gambling crackdown

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The fallout from the suspension of five Detroit Lions players continued this week as the NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) sent an email to agents representing players in the league warning them to caution their clients about any gambling behavior.

According to Pro Football Talk, the following message was sent to sports agents with NFL players on their client list:

“I am sure all of you have seen the recent suspensions of players that resulted from violations of the NFL Gambling Policy (which is unilaterally imposed by the NFL and not collectively bargained). These recent violations involved players placing bets using mobile apps on their phone while at work or while traveling with their teams. This is a violation of the NFL’s Gambling Policy.”

“During the NFL’s investigations we have learned that these apps (like FanDuel) are highly sensitive and very sophisticated at tracking, among other things, user location to be sure that the people using the app are not ‘prohibited gamblers’ and/or that the person using the app is in a location where they are allowed to place bets on the app. We have confirmed that some states monitor/audit FanDuel and the other gambling apps to ensure that the companies are in compliance with state law. Further the apps monitor gambler activity. It was as part of that monitoring that the NFL learned of the players using the apps at work in violation of NFL no time should players open or use any mobile gambling app while at work.”

The email references FanDuel specifically but most of the major sportsbooks and leagues have integrity monitoring services in place, including the NFL. The league uses Sportradar as both its official data partner and its integrity monitoring services. FanDuel, on the other hand, works with US Integrity.

The tone of the piece from Pro Football Talk was negative towards these services, referring to them as “snitching”, however, it is in the regulations of most states that these measures must be in place in order to ensure prohibited people, such as players, are betting on their own sport.

That being said, the NFL gambling policy is much broader than state policies and so broad to the point it is almost unenforceable. It is also worth noting that the email does mention that the NFL gambling policy is not something agreed upon as part of the NFLPA’s CBA.

Leagues like the NFL have recently begun appealing to lawmakers in states like Missouri to include and consider the needs of the players when drafting sports betting legislation. The focus of these efforts has been on protecting players from fan harassment but also mentions more confidential options for players when it comes to dealing with gambling issues.