Super Bowl bets could hit a record $23.1 billion this year. How the NFL is trying to keep players from betting a penny of that.

For decades, the NFL was hesitant to be involved with the gambling industry. But in recent years it has agreed to partnerships with FanDuel

and Caesars

as more states legalized sports betting. And this season, for the first time, the Super Bowl will be played in Las Vegas, the most famous gambling city in America.

A record 67.8 million Americans are expected to wager on Super Bowl LVIII, a 35% increase from 2023, according to new data from the American Gaming Association. And Americans are set to wager an estimated record of $23.1 billion on this year’s Super Bowl, up from $16 billion on last year’s game.

Thirty-eight states — plus Washington, D.C. — now offer some form of legal sports betting, representing 67% of the American adult population, according to the AGA.

See also: A Super Bowl only shown on a streaming service? ‘That’s where this is all headed.’

But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to make sure no NFL players bet any of that $23.1 billion on the game, and the league has established several rules when it comes to players and gambling during the week of the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

For starters, players on the Chiefs and 49ers won’t be staying too close to the famed Las Vegas Strip — the location of many of the city’s casinos and sportsbooks — as they will be about 20 miles away at Lake Las Vegas, the NFL announced.

And according to multiple league memos from Goodell that were viewed by MarketWatch, during Super Bowl week, athletes playing in the game may not do any sort of gambling, including play casino games like poker or blackjack, do any form of sports betting, and may not even step foot in a sportsbook, even if they are just eating there and not gambling.

Athletes from the other 30 NFL teams who are visiting Las Vegas are also barred from entering any sportsbook until after the game has ended, but they are allowed to play casino games like blackjack. 

Once the Super Bowl ends, all NFL players can freely play casino games, as well as wager at sportsbooks on non-NFL sporting events.

Here’s a flowchart of some NFL betting rules for the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.

“Any player, coach, personnel, yours truly, who would be caught or identified gambling at a casino would be eligible for the disciplinary process,” Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, told reporters about the league’s Super Bowl week gambling policy for the participating teams in a conference call last week.

But it’s unclear how the NFL will monitor and police its rules, as there are dozens of retail sportsbooks in Las Vegas.

The NFL responded to MarketWatch’s request for comment by restating the league’s gambling policy, and added: “Super Bowl LVIII is a highly anticipated and thrilling event for our fans and viewers. With fans across the globe tuning into the game and related events, we must all do our part to protect the integrity of our game and avoid even the appearance of improper conduct.”

In recent years, multiple NFL players who bet on NFL games were suspended from the league. In 2022, for example, wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended one year for betting on NFL games, and forfeited $11 million in salary.

See also: Super Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy made $870,000 this season — 16 college football players made more via NIL

The NFL was the last major American sports league to sign official sports betting deals, and individual NFL players are still not permitted to sign endorsement deals with sportsbooks under league restrictions. Athletes in the NBA, NHL and MLB are allowed to do so. NBA star LeBron James and DraftKings sportsbook signed a deal together just last week. 

Read on: Here’s how long Peacock needs its 2.8 million new NFL-fan subscribers to stick around

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