The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers are headed to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11, for the NFL Super Bowl LVIII.
But while Sin City is known for lavish nightlife, opulent buffets, and casinos, the players themselves won’t be able to dabble in the gambling scene after the NFL announced that players on Super Bowl teams are barred from placing sporting bets during the weekend.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo last week to all players, staff, and affiliated employees of the Chiefs and 49ers that said until the Super Bowl concludes on February 11, they will not be allowed to enter a sportsbook or place a sports bet (for any sport). Casino games are also prohibited.
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“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,” the memo reportedly read, per CNBC.
Staff of both teams were also told to explicitly avoid entering sportsbooks (even if just purchasing food or beverages) and are allowed to pass through only if it’s necessary to get to another part of the casino or venue.
NFL players who are in Vegas for the big weekend but do not play for the Chiefs or 49ers will be able to participate in legal gambling and casino games but can’t bet on the NFL or enter a sportsbook until the end of the Super Bowl.
The updated guidance follows modifications to the NFL’s gambling policy that were rolled out last September to toughen punishment for players caught violating the league’s rules — players are given a minimum one-year suspension if caught gambling on NFL games and a minimum of two years suspension if caught betting on their own team.
Players caught attempting to “fix” games will be banned from the league for life.
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During last year’s Super Bowl, sportsbooks in Nevada won roughly $5.5 million in an estimated $153.2 million wagered on bets between the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles.
This year, the money wagered is expected to be record-breaking.
If we don’t set a record this year, it would be very disappointing with the traffic we expect,” said SuperBook Sports Vice President of Risk, Ed Salmons, per USA Today’s For the Win.
The current record for Nevada sportsbooks is Super Bowl LVI in 2022 when roughly $179.2 million was wagered on bets between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.