In recent times there has been debate and confusion about whether NFL players are allowed to gamble. Naturally, betting on their own sport is an absolute no-no as it would undoubtedly lead to suspicions of thrown games and missed opportunities but the rules about more general betting are more liberal. The official wording that appears in all players’ contracts is that it is permissible to visit “legally-operated casinos and horse or dog racing tracks” and bet money on the action but what is not allowed is to act in a way that “can be perceived as constituting affiliation with or endorsement of gambling or gambling-related activities”.
This is why players recently got themselves into trouble with the league and why the fantasy football event arranged by ex-Dallas Cowboys player Tony Romo and planned to take place in a Las Vegas casino had to be cancelled. There has also been the case of the arm wrestling competition held at the MGM Grand and attended by players including the Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison and Marshawn Lynch which has landed both players and the casino in hot water.
One game that is allowed, and which quite a number of NFL players have shown quite a lot of skill at playing, is poker with some stars even appearing in high profile tournaments like the World Series of Poker.
For example in the 2016 event players including Arizona Cardinals’ Calais Campbell, Minnesota Vikings Antoine Winfield and ex-New England Patriot all played a part.
Campbell competed in a preliminary event while Antoine Winfield took home $2,391 having finished 231st in a $1,500 no limit hold’em event. Seymour, who is the most accomplished player of the three, made it through to day 2 of the Main Event but didn’t add to his poker career earnings that stood at $62,617 at the time. In an interview in the past Seymour has explained that poker satisfies an appetite for competition and that his first experiences of the game were in holding mini tournaments at his home with Oakland Raiders players including John Henderson, Kyle Boller and Hiram Eugene.
Another activity that seems to be tailor-made for NFL players to enjoy is playing online slots. The games provided by Wink Slots are specifically designed to appeal to a younger audience and they are the perfect way to spend a little downtime between matches or practice sessions. NFL pros are also all big team players so the camaraderie that you find online is also sure to appeal to them.
And who knows? Some could even prove to be even better at bingo than they’ve ever been on the field, a great thought for any of the veterans who may be heading for retirement.
Horse racing is another field in which NFL players take a keen interest with many owning stakes in racehorses and, presumably, betting on their success. Atlanta Falcons’ Jacob Tamme is a co-owner of Hat Creek Racing which has seen considerable success and one of his partners is Wes Welker, appropriately of the Denver Broncos. The latter has seen a very high profile success when his horse Undrafted won the Grade 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2015.