Roger Goodell Says NFL’s Integrity Is ‘No. 1 Objective’ As Legalized Gambling Increases

These comments follow a period that’s seen several gambling-related incidents involving NFL players and personnel.

Feb 6, 2024 • 16:59 ET • 4 min read
Roger Goodell NFL Commissioner
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the growth of legal sports betting and what it means for the league.

Goodell emphasized the league’s efforts to clarify its gambling policies for all NFL personnel ahead of the Super Bowl in Vegas so “that they understood exactly what our policies were here” and that “they all understand the importance” of these policies.

He reiterated “The importance for our players betting on NFL games or inside information or anything that would negatively impact the integrity of our game is absolutely off limits.” 

Goodell also sent a memo to all 32 teams to reinforce the league’s gambling policies ahead of Super Bowl week. Players from the 49ers and Chiefs are prohibited from engaging in any form of gambling, including casino games and betting on any sport, while in Las Vegas for the big game. 

Gambling-related incidents in the NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season when he violated the policy of betting on NFL games. and seven other NFL players from four teams were suspended for the entire 2023 season for betting on league games as well.

The NFL policy includes a minimum one-year suspension for wagering on an NFL game and a minimum two-year suspension for betting on the wagering player’s team. Game fixing attempted or actual, comes with a lifetime ban, and providing inside information results in a minimum one-year suspension. 

Goodell also told reporters that 25 league employees have so far violated the league’s gambling policy and that he’s “actually terminated employees” for the offense. 

Sports betting ads during Super Bowl LVIII

League officials also recently announced that only three sports betting ads would be shown during the Super Bowl LVIII broadcast. One will air right before kickoff, and the other two will air during the game.

David Highhill, the NFL’s general manager for sports betting, said league officials are mindful of the “volume and saturation” of sports betting ads and how they’re presented in the broadcast of games. 

An American Gaming Association study expects 68 million U.S. adults to wager roughly $23 billion on Super Bowl LVIII. The market for legal sports betting in the U.S. continues to expand, with North Carolina set to launch on March 11.

The NFL has come a long way from its once-taboo perspective on gambling, but it will be interesting to see how Goodell and the league approach the further integration of sports betting and the fan experience.  

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