NFL Owners Could Change Stance on Casino Advertising

Published on Apr 1st, 2012

After years of staunchly holding onto anti-gambling beliefs, the National Football League is reviewing its policy regarding casino advertising in its 31 stadiums. During the NFL owners' meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer reported that owners could allow their stadiums to have casino advertising. Read more.

Previously, the NFL has banned such advertising so that there wouldn't be the appearance of improprieties regarding gambling on NFL games. The decision, according to Farmer, could be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Farmer quoted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as saying, "If you look at us versus other leagues, we are not changing our position on sports gambling and betting on team sports. That is something we will continue to take a very strong position on. We have evolved very slowly over this and, in fact, have kept a real distance between gambling and the NFL. But, we have frequently modified that over the years... and we are [looking at] doing that now."

The NFL and Goodell have long held an anti-gambling stance, even to the point of not allowing current players to make appearances in casinos for charitable causes. In 2011, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior and backup quarterback Charlie Batch withdrew from a planned opening ceremony for a Pennsylvania casino's card room due to the league's rules.

Also in 2011, several prominent football pros including Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (pictured), Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis did not play in a charitable poker tournament in Las Vegas hosted by Phil Hellmuth after it had been promoted that they would take part.

The reason for these actions is the NFL's "integrity of the game" clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the Players' Association. That clause states, "All club employees, including coaches and players, are prohibited from being associated with such activities through endorsements, commercials, ads, or public appearances. Violators will be subject to appropriate discipline. Promotional appearances by players, coaches, or other personnel involving casinos, sports books, gambling cruises, or similar activities are not permitted."

Prior to this latest development with the NFL, the most popular sports league in the United States had continually held a stringent anti-gambling stance. League officials were at the forefront of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, provided that fantasy sports, a multi-billion dollar industry, were exempted from the legislation. After receiving assurances that the fantasy sports industry would be excluded from any passed legislation, the NFL put its full weight behind the bill.

Even before Goodell took over as commissioner, the NFL has carried an anti-gambling stance. Former quarterback Art Schlichter was suspended indefinitely in 1983 after admitting to gambling on NFL games (he was later reinstated) and, back in 1963, star players Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were both suspended for a season for betting on NFL games and "associating" with gamblers. There have been several other instances of gambling-related punishments in the past.

In late 2010, the NFL announced that it had dropped its opposition to our industry after a law legalizing internet gaming included language outlawing sports betting. Whether the NFL changes its stance regarding gambling in the future remains to be seen. Although the league has at points appeared to be open to online poker legalization, it still remains staunchly against any form of gambling, online or live. Only time will tell.


  1. The NFL is single handily the most responsible for the UIGEA. They now have their former legal representative at Covington & Burley (Eric Holder) as the Attorney General of the United States. And you can rest assured Black Friday never happens without Holder's crusade. To have a law forbidding banks to deal with internet gambling but allow, through exemption, offshore gambling on fantasy football and horse racing is disgusting.

    And the funny part is, the NFL is fully aware that gambling is what made their league the most popular sport in America by far. And they make sure Direct TV pays thru the nose for the rights to broadcast all the games on the NFL Ticket, which is bought by bars and taverns all over the country, and its not to cater to fantasy football players.

    It's time for gamblers to start getting pissed off at this uber-greedy maniacal gang of human sludge who spit on the very people responsible for their success. Heck, Rosenbloom and other owners who kept that league going in the 50's (when they were considered a league of goons and maniacs) were gamblers themselves. The way the NFL is going, 25% of their players will be convicted felons by 2015, and when the luxury boxes start emptying out, and the "family" stops spending $350 for 4 tickets to watch at the stadium, the NFL will suddenly change their tune if they think they can bring in more money.

  2. ^^agreed

  3. Without fantasy football or betting on football, I would never watch the NFL. Many like me too, gambling drives the NFL no doubt about it

  4. With tough times for everyone, advertising revenue is probably on the down. Companies and big business have a never ending aiml of 'growth', and if it means turning to something they previously shunned as the devil (i.e. gambling sites) to achieve that growth, then so be it. $$$$$$$$.

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