The NFL altered its gambling policy for players, ratcheting its harshest punishment to a lifetime ban while reducing its penalties for betting on other sports at team facilities, which includes the immediate reinstatement of players currently serving six-game suspensions for doing so. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the changes Friday in a memo to teams.
The updated policy came in response to feedback from the Players Association and serve as an attempt to strengthen the league’s commitment to fans’ faith in the integrity of the competition while adapting to the shifting landscape of widely legalized sports betting.
"The NFL and NFL Players Association share a long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of the game,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. "The NFL periodically reviews the gambling policy in consultation with the NFLPA and clubs to ensure it is responsive to changing circumstances and fully addresses this commitment.”
Under the revised policy, a player who bets on an NFL game will receive at minimum a one-year suspension — and at least a two-year suspension if the bet involves his own team. Any "actual or attempted match-fixing,” which includes a player betting against his own team, will result in a lifetime ban.
Any player found to have offered "inside information” or tips to bettors will be suspended at least one year. The penalties also apply to players who bet through a third party or proxy.
The NFL made its policy more lenient for players who legally bet on sports while at a team facility. First-time offenders will face two-game-suspensions, as opposed to six. A second offense will result in a six-game suspension, and a third will lead to a one-year suspension.
The change applies to players currently suspended for betting on sports from a team facility. Most notably, Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams and Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere will be eligible to play in Week 5 rather than miss the next two games.