NFL Gambling Mess Can No Longer Be Ignored

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:

It's no longer a question of "will" but "when" are changes going to occur with the NFL's gambling relationship in 2024.


The New York Post featured a glaring headline Friday morning: "The NFL Can’t Escape Its Own Gambling Messes".  The piece is written by Phil Mushnick.

In just the past week, the following revelations emerged, each its own story on the site. is the world's leading education resource and watchdog for the gambling industry.

NFL Refs Were Approached to Fix Games

NFL rules analyst and former vice president of officiating Dean Blandino stunned listeners this week by revealing that NFL refs had been approached on various occasions (not just once) to alter the outcome of games.

"We've had situations where people were approached," he said to Brandon Contes on the Awful Announcing Podcast. "We've always told our game officials because they're in hotels—they're traveling around during the season—we didn't want them wearing NFL-branded gear. We didn't want them to be inconspicuous because someone sees them and 'Oh, those are the NFL officials,' and then you never know.

"You don't know who you're gonna come across. And they know that they're supposed to go to NFL security if something like that happens. And that has happened in the past."

Former Executive Who Allegedly Stole $22 Million From Jaguars Was ‘Legendarily Bad’ DFS Bettor

On Tuesday we reported on how Amit Patel was fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars last February and only disclosed in legal documents obtained by The Athletic on Tuesday.  He was also accused of siphoning team funds for personal travel and a condo purchase as well as luxury automobiles and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.  Most of the funds were allegedly used for gambling....and most of it lost.  More specifically, Patel is accused of placing money on specific player performance outcomes on Daily Fantasy Sports sites. 

FanDuel Lobbied to Prevent Controls That Would Prevent Minors From Betting on Sports

The Guardian on Tuesday released a scathing report whereby it claims sportsbook company FanDuel lobbied against efforts to protect youth from gambling as well as educational efforts to assist problem gamblers.

It reviewed documents per a Freedom of Information Act to reveal that FanDuel asked New York State to "rethink a proposed ban on gambling platforms from using certain words and phrases to attract people “who are or may be” problem gamblers to their websites."

FanDuel also opposed a rule prohibiting sports-betting advertisements near college campuses. The state’s legal age for the activity is 21.

From The Guardian report:

The commission’s staff defended the rule, raising the prospect of a sports-betting platform embedding a phrase like “problem-gambling help” in its website to attract a person typing the phrase into a search engine. While FanDuel suggested eliminating the proposal, or limiting it only to “known” problem gamblers, the commission’s staff said this “would not address the issue appropriately”.

FanDuel also objected to a ban on advertising in the “area of a college or university campus”, on the grounds that this “vague” language “could be read to include unaffiliated residential and commercial areas” nearby.

NFL Can't Escape Its Own Gambling Mess

Mushnick focuses on the missing $22 million alleged to have mostly been spent on DFS sites.  These sites didn't realize that someone was spending in excess of a million dollars at sites where a few dollar "bets" are the norm (PrizePicks and the like claim not to be "betting" sites).

"Yes, $22 million is just a few dollars beyond a mild addiction," Mushnick observes.

But Mushnick points out the elephant in the room.

"The good news for the NFL, Jags and Roger Goodell is that Patel reportedly blew most of it betting with FanDuel and DraftKings, both NFL-licensed bookmakers."

Patel was not the Jags’ CFO. Mushnick notes.

"He was what has been described as a midlevel management employee who stumbled upon the team’s new credit card system that allowed him the keys to the kingdom."

Then there's this:  Ridiculous Same Game Parlays that have only emerged courtesy of the US regulated sports betting market (not the so-called "black market" that's existed for decades and never offered this particular bet type but now have no other choice due to the demand).

We end this latest spitting-into-the-storm session with a question from reader Rick Lewis:

Sunday’s FanDuel “Same Game Parlay Special” was Rams-Ravens — “parlay” is the house’s polite term for “sucker.”

“Fans” were invited to bet the Ravens, laying 7.5, root for Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp and his QB Matthew Stafford to have big stat games and for Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson to score a rushing TD.

Lewis: “How the heck can anyone enjoy that game if they bet this? Root for the Ravens but also root for Stafford to have a good game and, I guess, go deep to Kupp?

“What do you root for if the game is close? First-and-goal so Jackson can run one in? You need them to win by more than a field goal. My head would spin.”

- Alejandro Botticelli,

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