Winners & Losers: NFL Stars Will Be Wager-Free In Vegas

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American football game.

I can’t say I know anyone who goes to Las Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday and does not put a little something-something on the game. Not betting on the Super Bowl, regardless of where you happen to be, is downright un-American.

With the game taking place in Vegas, on February 11, action will be heavier than ever. It might contribute to exceeding the 2023 Nevada handle, which clocked in at $153.2 million.

That was helped along by a gambler who put down $2.2 million on the Philadelphia Eagles (they lost outright, despite being favored by 1.5 points, and so did the big bettor).

Drake is said to have placed $1 million on the Kansas City Chiefs and presumably went home happy.

That said, pity the poor NFL players who will be in Vegas to watch their buddies competing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Pro football players, according to an email sent out by the league and obtained by Front Office Sports, are not permitted to enter a Vegas sportsbook until after the Super Bowl completes.

But what about betting online before getting to Vegas? No mention of that.

Blackjack, craps, poker, every other game in the casino is permitted for non-playing footballers. They just can’t make the one bet that everyone wants to make.

If you’re actually playing in the game? Leave your money at home.

“While in Las Vegas,” the email states, “players participating in the Super Bowl are prohibited from engaging in any form of gambling…”
Then there is the bizarre exception. Players may stroll through the sports book if it is the only way for them to get to where they are going.

Where could that possibly be? A restroom? The deli for one of the ordinary sandwiches that are sold in sportsbooks? Whoever wrote that exception must have never been to Vegas. Just about every sports book is set up to dead end at the far side where there is a giant wall of monitors.

Vegas sign.

The only reason to walk through a sports book is because you want to place a bet. Beyond all that, I’m not sure about these strict rules. For starters, wouldn’t you want to bet on a team if some players have extra cash riding on themselves? I know I would.

Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather routinely bet on himself and it drove him to beat the hell out of his opponents. I assume it would do the same for football players.

Plus, not being able to place bets on the up and up, legally, in a sports book where surveillance cameras capture every move being made, opens the door for something much shadier.

Despite all the legal sports betting in Vegas, the place has no shortage of illegal bookies. One of them took heat this week after being accused of facilitating bets for professional athletes. And surely he is not the only one. No doubt you’d rather have your sports stars betting at, say, the Bellagio than over the phone with a guy who knows a guy.

Betting is tough to curb under the safest of conditions, but if you’re going to have one of the world’s highest profile sporting events taking place in a city where gambling is the raison d’etre for the place to exist, you can’t be surprised when deep pocketed athletes want to bet on athletics.

Hopefully no one will get caught following his natural instinct and making the game interesting – just as the rest of us will be doing.

Michael Kaplan
Gambling Author and Journalist
Michael Kaplan
Gambling Author and Journalist

Michael Kaplan is a journalist based in New York City joined Techopedia in November 2023. He is the author of five books ("The Advantage Players" comes out in 2024) and has worked for publications that include Wired, GQ and the New York Post. He has written extensively on technology, gambling and business — with a particular interest in spots where all three intersect. His article on Kelly "Baccarat Machine" Sun and Phil Ivey is in development as a feature film.