Sports players cash in their skills nicely. This allows them to splurge on luxuries, betting, and gambling. But the sums are much larger than with your average bet when it comes to athletes and gambling.
So how much do sports players shell out on betting? Are they allowed to engage in such activities, and how does it affect their careers? Read on to find out!
Gambling Regulations in Sports Associations: Are Athletes Allowed to Gamble?
The American Gaming Association is responsible for regulating the US casino and gambling policies. But what about the sports associations such as NBA, NFL, and MLB? How do they regulate betting and gambling?
Can professional athletes bet on sports? Let’s find out!
All NBA players are required to complete a gambling awareness program. NBA players aren’t allowed to bet on the outcome of a game played by an NBA team. Every player needs to complete a mandatory gambling awareness program to prevent gambling in the NBA.
Any player placing a direct or indirect bet will have to answer to the Association and the Commissioner.
Moreover, breaking the NBA gambling policy can lead to a hefty fine. And that’s not even the worst possible punishment.
If the Association and the Commissioner find the charged athlete guilty, they may face:
- A high fine
The Commissioner’s decision is final, and the athlete won’t have a chance to appeal that decision.
The NFL strictly prohibits sports players and their personnel from betting and gambling.
All NFL personnel are banned from participating in illegal betting and gambling activities. NFL athletes gambling face severe consequences. But what actions could endanger their careers?
- Accepting fixing a game
- Not reporting a bribe offer
- Sharing confidential info about games
- Participating in gambling in any league or club setting
- Entering or visiting a sportsbook during the NFL season
According to Rule 21, any MLB player caught gambling will get a one-year suspension from the league.
In addition to this, gambling in the MLB may result in a lifetime suspension from the league. The offenses that could cause this include receiving a bribe in exchange for a defeat or bribing the umpire.
Even the umpires will get a lifetime suspension for accepting bribes.
Athletes and Gambling: The Biggest Debts and Losses
Betting and gambling are exciting. So exciting that they can cause addiction, and no one is immune, not even professional sports players.
Over the years, there’ve been many rumors, scandals, and stories of athletes with gambling problems, so let’s take a look at the most intriguing ones!
Athletes Struggling With Gambling Problems
One of the most famous Michael Jordan gambling stories reveals that Jordan has once lost $165,000 in an Atlantic City casino in one night. The Chicago Bulls’ player always claimed that he had a competition problem.
Additionally, a San Diego businessman claims the player owes him $1.25 million for a single golf game, which only confirms the long-suspected Michael Jordan gambling problem.
For the NBA’s self-described gambling addict, Charles Barkley, gambling is definitely much more than just a pastime, as he’s recorded losing more than $10 million.
He also got into a $400,000 debt in the famous LV casino Wynn in a single year. The athlete refused to pay, so the casino sued him.
Tiger Woods and gambling go hand in hand. He’s almost more famous for playing Blackjack with $25,000 a hand than for playing golf. He even had a $1 million limit in the MGM Grand Casino for a while.
John Daly and the gambling losses he incurred are world-famous. The athlete loves gambling, but Lady Luck hasn’t been kind to him. The famous golfer has lost between $55 and $57 million from 1991 to 2007.
Another one of the famous athletes caught gambling is Antoine Walker. He has racked up over $800,000 debt in Caesar’s Palace, Red Rock Resort, and Planet Hollywood. The NBA player even wrote faulty checks, forcing casinos to press charges.
Gambling and athletes issues aren’t limited to the States. Former England captain Wayne Rooney accumulated a debt of £700,000 (approximately $1.3 million) before turning 20. The soccer player blamed boredom for his habit and has since quit gambling.
Floyd Mayweather gambling away $10 million on one game comes as no surprise when you consider “Money” Mayweather’s love for gambling and sports.
In 2014, he put a lot of pressure on Payton Manning and his teammates when he placed the hefty bet on the Denver Broncos.
When it comes to Phil Mickelson, the gambling problem that brought his addiction into the limelight culminated in 2012. Namely, the famous golfer got into a severe gambling debt in Las Vegas.
The Mickelson gambling debt was $1.95 million to a well-known businessman and gambler, William “Billy” Walters.
For the famous quarterback Art Schlichter, gambling actually led to him doing time in 44 different jails and prisons.
It all started with some innocent betting on horses when Schlichter was in high school. Over the years, his addiction became severe. The Colts’ quarterback was arrested for the first time in 1987 for participating in a multi-million dollar sports-betting operation.
For the Ipswich striker Michael Chopra, gambling was tempting enough to land him in so much debt that he had to play with an injury to pay it off. He would sometimes gamble up to £20,000 (about $28,000) a day.
Athletes and Gambling: The Most Infamous Scandals
Besides losing all their hard-earned money, sports players also risk their careers by betting and gambling. Here are some of the most scandalous athlete suspensions brought on by their illegal activities.
Athletes Suspended Because of Betting
Besides betting against the team he managed, Rose also participated in illegal wagering with bookmakers. He was banned from the MLB for life.
Joey Barton’s 18-month ban ended his career. Barton is another one of the numerous athletes suspended for gambling. The Burnley midfielder bet on over 1,200 soccer matches. He even participated in some of those matches.
It seems like athletes betting on sports keep getting in trouble. The Arizona Cardinals’ cornerback got a ban at the end of the 2020 season for betting on matches. However, he can petition for reinstatement this year.
Former Liverpool striker disclosed confidential info to his brother. The latter then used it to place a bet on Daniel’s potential move to Sevilla in 2018.
Sturridge got a four-month ban and a £150,000 fine (about $210,000) for breaching betting rules. Also, his contract with his current team was cut short.
Athletes gambling in sports happens in the lower leagues, too. In 2018, Wood committed 25 breaches of the FA’s Match Integrity and Betting Rules, for which he got a small fine and a six-year ban. He’ll be allowed to go back to playing soccer in 2024.
Wycombe’s forward placed 183 bets between 2014 and 2016. He got a two-month ban and was fined. However, the FA can suspend him for additional four months if he is caught breaking more betting rules.
Are NBA players allowed gambling?
The NBA explicitly forbids its players to bet, tip, or fix matches. The rules also prohibit the players from encouraging others to place wages or “exercise improper influence or manipulation.”
Can NFL players gamble on sports?
NFL players aren’t allowed to gamble or bet on sports. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, they can’t bet on football, but they can gamble in legal casinos. They can also bet on legal dog and horse races in their personal time.
Are players allowed to bet?
As we already mentioned, most sports players can place bets, but not on the sport they are playing. So, for instance, soccer players aren’t allowed to bet on their own teams. However, they may be allowed to bet on other teams and sports, depending on their contract.
Likewise, as is the case with most of the other athletes and gambling, they can spend as much of their money as they want in legal casinos, horse tracks, etc.
The Bottom Line
Elite athletes and gambling have been a hot topic for decades. Athletes are at a higher risk for developing a gambling issue because of their natural competitiveness.
Despite the strict rules, fines, and bans, there will always be sports players who will risk everything, and we’ll be here to give you all the details!