NFL Asks For Federal Help Against ‘Illicit Sports Betting Market’

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
NFL Illicit Sports Betting

Following the slew of NFL sports betting suspensions, U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus issued a letter. The letter was sent to 12 major sports leagues regarding their gambling policies and the integrity of the game. NFL representatives responded to this letter, asking for federal assistance with combatting illegal sports betting markets, which include offshore sportsbooks.

NFL Puts Focus On Illegal Operators

Unlike the regulated sports betting market where safeguards and regulations are put in place to protect the integrity of the game, illegal sports betting is a wildcard. The NFL believes that they have maintained their efforts in upholding the game’s integrity.

Even as players are caught breaking gambling policies, the NFL has been on top of things with swift reprimands. It is far more difficult to catch NFL wagers placed at illicit sports betting operators.

“There is no higher principle at the NFL than safeguarding the integrity of the game,” said Jonathan Nabavi, the league’s vice president of public policy and government affairs. “Our efforts to uphold game integrity have been ongoing throughout the history of the league and our commitment has not wavered since the Supreme Court’s decision. The increased accessibility of sports betting has made our efforts even more important.”

So far the league has suspended 12 players and official employees who have violated the league’s gambling policies. These suspensions were only possible because the violations were done at legal sportsbooks. With the underground market still being as available as ever, the NFL looks to the federal government.

“We believe that additional attention and resources are needed from lawmakers and law-enforcement to address the illicit sports betting market, which still has the power of incumbency,” continued Nabavi.

Call For Federal Aid Against Illegal Market Not New

This isn’t the first time the federal government has been asked to tackle illegal operators. As the regulated market has continued to grow, several entities have reached out to the federal government to stop for aid.

Earlier in the year, gaming officials from Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Louisiana, and Mississippi joined forces. They sent in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding illicit sports betting sites.

“The dangers posed by these unlawful operations are well-known, including a lack of investment in Responsible Gaming programs, loss of state tax revenue that funds important initiatives, no age verification requirements to protect minors, no controls to prevent money laundering, an absence of guarantees that customers will receive fair payouts, and much more,” read the letter.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General regarding the same issue. The American Gaming Association (AGA) had also requested the federal government do more to tackle illegal operations. According to the AGA, more than half a trillion dollars are wagered illegally every year.

With the NFL being the latest entity to call out the illegal industry, it is a wonder if the U.S. government will make moves.