NFL Policy Prohibits Gifts From Gambling Entities....Unless You Are Fanatics?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

The NFL gambling policy offers a specific provision about NFL personnel accepting hospitality and gifts from gambling entities. But the league won't say whether that policy applied to Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin's July 4 party.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has done an excellent job of exposing the hypocrisy of the NFL gambling policy, all the while embracing sportsbooks.

Fanatics is no longer just a sports apparel company.  They recently got into the US regulated sports betting market and are vying to purchase PointBets assets.

Unofficially, a source with knowledge of the league’s position on the matter told Pro Football Talk there is no violation for NFL personnel who attended.  Apparently Rubin has held similar parties over the years without any business tie-ins.

But as Florio points out, the current NFL gambling policy says otherwise.

“NFL Personnel may not accept a complimentary room, service, or other gift from a Gambling Entity if its value exceeds Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250),” the policy states. “Any items accepted (other than de minimis food & beverages generally offered to all patrons) must be appropriately documented and verifiable upon request. Soliciting gifts of any value is never permissible.”

"I don't know what that means," Florio says.  "Nonlawyers don't use the term 'de minimis'.  That's Latin. The presence of the term 'de minimis' in the gambling policy means they should tear the whole thing up and rewrite it, as multiple teams have done, to make it understandable to their staff, to their players, to anyone that would have to understand it."

Florio admits he doesn't know what this prohibits or permits. 

"I need examples. Because ultimately what I need to know is, where's the line?"

There are apparent loopholes.

As long as it’s all hosted by the person who runs the sports book and not the sports book, it’s apparently fine, Florio writes.

Assuming that Rubin paid for the party himself and not with Fanatics money, any other sports book CEO or executive could do the same thing, without the policy ever being relevant, he adds.

And Florio points out that, as long as the gambling entity isn’t mentioned or promoted, the owner or operator of the gambling entity can give NFL personnel anything and everything.

Florio goes there though with what many readers may be thinking by now.  How do we know Fanatics didn't pay for this lavish 4th of July party?

If only players were present at the party, maybe the league would consider it. The fact that Patriots owner Robert Kraft was among the attendees makes it far less likely that the league would ever do anything about it, Florio writes.

If you think the NFL is having second thoughts about its gambling relationships, guess again.

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- Chris Costigan, Publisher

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