America’s most popular professional sports league is continuing to face issues related to legal sports betting.
According to an ESPN report, the NFL has recently launched an investigation into potential violations of its gambling policy. The probe adds to a growing list of gambling-related disruptions for the league after the U.S. Supreme Court permitted states outside of Nevada to legalize sanctioned online sports betting sites and retail wagering in 2018. Since then, the NFL has handed out nearly a dozen suspensions to players and team personnel for violating its policy.
It is still unclear what the NFL’s latest investigation entails but the league most recently suspended five players from the Detroit Lions and Washington Commanders. Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore of the Detroit Lions, along with Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders were suspended indefinitely in April for wagering on NFL games during the 2022 season.
Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams of the Lions were handed suspensions for the first six games of the upcoming 2023 season for betting on non-NFL games at their team’s facility.
In 2022, Calvin Ridley of the Jacksonville Jaguars was suspended for the entire season for betting on NFL games during his time with the Atlanta Falcons. That same year, New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin was given a minimum one-year suspension for wagering.
Cornerback Josh Shaw received the same punishment in 2019 for betting on league games.
The integrity of sports is being tested with the rise of gambling-related suspensions across the world. Last week, Brentford FC striker Ivan Toney was handed an eight-month suspension and a roughly $62,000 fine for violating the Football Association’s betting rules between 2017 and 2021.
Colorado Rapids midfielder Max Alves was suspended by the team while the Brazil native is under investigation by MLS over allegations of the illegal use of betting sites. The probe into Alves comes after Brazil prosecutors charged 16 pro soccer players for alleged match-fixing.
Gambling disruptions have also trickled down to college sports. Earlier this month, Ohio gambling regulators ordered the state’s sportsbooks to suspend wagering on Alabama college baseball games following a suspicious in-person bet.
As a result of the wager, Alabama fired head baseball coach Brad Bohannon after an investigation into the school’s baseball program.
The University of Iowa and Iowa State baseball programs have also received backlash after the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission launched a probe into alleged unlawful sports wagering by more than 40 current athletes and one employee across the two institutions. The ongoing investigation is centered on the use of online betting platforms at Iowa and Iowa State.
Despite the recent influx of gambling-related issues across sports, over 99.5% of all sporting events are free from match-fixing, according to a review by Sportradar Integrity Services. The encouraging results come after Sportradar detected 1,212 suspicious matches across 12 sports in 2022. Soccer led the group with 775 suspicious matches last year, up from 695 in 2021.