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Can NFL Players Bet on NBA Games?

Calvin Ridley Julio Jones WR Pairing
Calvin Ridley is one of the better young receivers in the NFL, but recently the star wide receiver was suspended for gambling on sports. Can NFL players bet on sports?

If you’re a fan of the NFL, you may already be familiar with the case of Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for betting on a number of matches while being injured. In a matter of days, his career came to a halt. This has caused many people to wonder just what the rules are for NFL players when it comes to betting on game outcome. In what cases is it allowed, if at all? Do the same policies apply to all major sports, or is there a difference? 

For those who want to know about gambling as an NFL player on various sports, we’ll walk you through all the basic dos and don’ts of the matter.

Sports Betting Rules for National Football League

These days, web-based bookmakers have made it very easy for people to gamble on different sports. Currently, there are so many good online casinos that it’s hard to resist the temptation of placing some wagers now and then. All you need to do is look for the best casinos with sportsbooks on a reputable website like IGamblerPA and register for an account. You don’t need to worry about safety or anything else for that matter, as all platforms from the website are tested by experts in this field and proved trustworthy. So, simply log onto the relevant casino site, find a match you want to test your luck on, and go for it. However, this isn’t as simple if you’re a professional sportsperson, which is why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the laws and rulebooks that apply to you. 

Some may find NFL betting rules a little confusing since the organization itself has numerous associations and partnerships with companies in this industry. The main thing to note is that a player in the NFL cannot place bets on games in the league. This makes sense, too, since doing so would motivate said person not to do well in their own game to win their wager. The same rule applies to coaches, managers, staff, and other people working within the organization in any capacity.

The gambling policy is very strict in this regard and also asks people to report any and all attempts of being bribed immediately. They are also not allowed to maintain close relationships with people who belong to the gambling industry. 

Is It Just Limited to Football?

This is where things change a little. While NFL personnel are prohibited from betting on practically all other sports, too, the players are allowed to bet on them. This relaxation allows them to bet on games of basketball, Formula 1, baseball, and many other sports. So, while betting on NFL games is a big no, they can place wagers on NCAA basketball, NHL, MLB, etc. 

The policy is very strict for those working in other roles within the organization, though. If personnel is found to break the rule, they can face severe punishment that is handed out on a “case by case” basis.

Other leagues also have severe punishments for those who gamble. One such example is Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball after placing wagers on a number of matches, 52 of which included the team he managed, the Cincinnati Reds. Rose had some great statistics and said he did it because he believed in the Reds winning every time. 

Another example is Tim Donaghy, who left basketball as a disgraced member of the sport. He was a referee and was found guilty of placing wagers on matches that he officiated himself. This, of course, included him making dubious calls to sway the results how he wanted.

What Happened to Calvin Ridley?

Calvin Ridley plays for the Atlanta Falcons and was suspended “indefinitely” at least until the end of the 2022 season. He was one of those NFL players with a bright future ahead of him and was being actively considered for trading by other teams before getting suspended. It was reported in the news that Ridley bet on games during a 5-day period while he was injured. The NFL rulebook clearly states that a player cannot do so unless it is on sporting events from other leagues. This led to an instant ban. While the official statement says this suspension is indefinite, it also states that it will last at least until the end of 2022.

An internal investigation found that inside information was not used, and none of the matches was compromised. However, it was announced that the wager did involve the Falcons. Ridley was reported to have done all of this with his own phone, and no evidence was found that any of his teammates or coaching staff were part of the bets. So, he alone was punished for his actions. 

After the suspension was handed out, Ridley took to Twitter to announce that he did not have a gambling problem and wagered a total of $1500. He also said that he could not even watch the matches during that time. Ridley had taken a break to focus on his mental health, which had reportedly put his contract with the Falcons already in doubt. After these events, the Falcons have made no indications about whether he will return to them at some point or not. Ridley was also made to forfeit his salary of $11.1 million during the first year of suspension. 


As you can see, every major sports organization in the US is very serious about its policies when it comes to placing wagers on matches within the same sport. Many people are against the severe punishments that are handed out, but a lot are in agreement with the rulebooks. It is very easy for those involved in the matches to perform a certain way that would make them money, so it makes a lot of sense for the laws in place. For those who want to gamble, there is always the opportunity to wager on other sports that they don’t have any control over. That makes it possible for those in the NFL to gamble on a basketball match, just not on any NFL game.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]

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