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New NFL Policy Allows Teams to Accept Some Gambling Ads

Apr 15, 2012
Author: Michael Mancini
New NFL Policy Allows Teams to Accept Some Gambling Ads

Like most major sports leagues, the National Football League has generally been against giving its fans too many chances to gamble on games, and has opposed expanding sports betting in the United States. But while that position is unlikely to change anytime soon, the NFL has taken a step towards relaxing its restrictions on teams associating with gambling organizations.

According to an Associated Press report, the NFL will now allow teams to accept advertisements from some gambling-related establishments. The new policy will be in place over the next two years, after which it may be reviewed again.

Under the new policy, there are strict rules for gambling advertisements. First, only state-licensed gambling establishments can take part in the ads, meaning that even if they wanted to, teams could not accept, for instance, ads from online casinos. Secondly, the ads can only be placed in game programs, on local radio broadcasts, or on the upper bowl or inner concourses of stadiums – likely to prevent them from being seen on television.

The change in policy came after a discussion at the NFL’s annual owners meetings. The league had also been reviewing how other sports leagues had handled gambling advertisements, and did research on the opinions of fans and the teams themselves to see what felt most appropriate.

Before the change, teams were only allowed to take advertisements for horse and dog racing tracks, for lottery programs, and for the city of Las Vegas, as long as there were no references to gambling or casinos. The new policy still restricts advertising agreements with any entity that offers sports betting beyond horse or dog racing. All ads will also have to carry a message promoting responsible gaming.

While the new guidelines will definitely give NFL teams more leeway in advertising with casino groups, the NFL says that it should not be taken as a sign that they might someday loosen their stance on betting on the NFL itself.

“We remain steadfast in our opposition to the proliferation of gambling on NFL games,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “There is a distinction between accepting advertising in a limited fashion and gambling on the outcome of our games.”

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