Gambling

Professional Sports League Gambling Policies • This Week in Gambling


Amid all the recent turmoil and negative headlines surrounding sports betting, we thought we would look at the various sports league gambling policies. And we begin with Major League Baseball, who has seen a rash of bad press surrounding this issue. League Commissioner Rob Manfred recently commented on the issues and had this to say about their position on gambling, emphasizing its commitment to upholding integrity of their games in the midst of legalized sports betting.

First looking to the incidents involving Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter, where Ippei Mizuhara allegedly embezzled millions of dollars from the baseball star for illicit sports gambling, Manfred addressed concerns by reiterating the league’s proactive measures to mitigate such risks. He emphasized MLB’s utilization of monitoring and data resources within its integrity program as essential tools in safeguarding against potential compromises.

The policy of the MLB on this matter clearly states that all personnel in uniform, as well as employees of teams and leagues, are permitted to engage in gambling activities unrelated to betting on baseball. This includes amateur games and fantasy baseball. Players are free to wager where gambling is legal without any constraints, provided the bookmaker is operating within the bounds of the law. The severity of punishment varies depending on the gravity of the offense, with match-fixing and intentionally losing games results in permanent expulsion from the league.

NFL players are permitted to bet on non-league events through legal sportsbooks. However, all other personnel associated with the league, including coaches, officials, and trainers, are strictly prohibited from participating in any form of sports betting. Additionally, players are barred from placing bets while inside any team or league facility or when traveling with their team. Each player’s contract contains clauses pertaining to gambling, thereby binding them to the signed agreements acknowledging these restrictions. Those who wager on NFL games face indefinite suspensions of at least one year, while players who place bets in non-permitted locations receive six-game suspensions.

When it comes to the National Basketball Association, players, teams, and league employees are prohibited from betting on the NBA or any of its affiliated properties, including the WNBA, G-League, and summer league. However, if sports betting is lawful in their jurisdiction, players and employees are permitted to wager on other sports. Those found in violation of the policy may face fines, suspensions, or potential termination of their contracts.

Finally, the NHL has similar league gambling policies, which states that players are prohibited from betting on their own league, but they are allowed to place bets on non-NHL events. This rule applies to both players and employees affiliated with teams and the league. Penalties for violations of the policy may include fines, contract cancellations, suspensions for specified or indefinite duration, or even permanent expulsions from the league. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman holds the authority to administer discipline, as stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement.



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