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Is gambling legal for football players?

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First, we need to have a look at what the NFL constitutes as gambling. The definition of gambling, according to NFL, is the wagering of money or anything else of value on an event with an unknown outcome, intending to make money and or other things of value. It generally involves a prize to be won, a chance to be taken and participants risking or providing something of value.

Examples of gambling activities include betting on sportsbooks, cards, dice, or video games. Playing casino games at and betting on racing, fighting, or participating in sports pools are all considered gambling activities. Whether it’s for profit, a charitable foundation or something else that includes third parties, as well as private wagers between people, it’s still illegal.

Here’s a closer look into the NFL gambling policy and some of the rules around gambling for football players.

Prohibitions on legal gambling

NFL personnel are particularly prohibited from the following:

“Betting on football, other sports, game fixing, best effort, inside information and tipping, gambling in the workplace, sportsbooks, and more.”


There is a slight difference in rules between personnel and players, but for the most part, they must adhere to the same restrictions.

So, are football players allowed to gamble?

Because players get fined when they are caught gambling, the answer is no. Placing bets as a sports player is one way of adding a dent to what could otherwise turn out to be a legendary career. Despite NFL’s numerous sponsorships from gambling companies across the country, players are not allowed to bet. Especially not in games that their teams take part in.

“Gambling, particularly on NFL games or other sports, presents potential risks to the integrity of our competition and can negatively impact team cohesion” – Gambling Policy for NFL Personnel 2018. NFL considers it a duty to their fans and associates of the league to take the necessary steps in safeguarding games against possible threats from illegal gambling.


Unfortunately for NFL players and their personnel, gambling is not allowed. The most recent example is Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for a year by the NFL league due to his gambling. The player partook in gambling activities while he was injured. The NFL is taking a hard line by setting high standards.

The Gambling Policy for NFL Personnel are the rule book for gambling regulations in the world of football. To get a better idea of what the NFL consider to be within the rules and regulations, all prospective NFL players should familiarise themselves with what the NFL considers to be gambling so as not to risk fines and their careers.


Remember, if you’re placing a bet for money or anything valuable on an event for a guessed outcome, it’s considered gambling. Whether you’re doing it directly via a dealer or sportsbook, or casino, it’s illegal. Gambling for charity, if you’re a football player, is prohibited as well. As such, it’s safe to say that football players can stay out of trouble and lengthy suspension from leagues, or worse, by staying away from wagering.

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