The league’s gambling policy is rigid, and it bears consequences for these players.
An arm wrestling competition in Las Vegas featuring NFL players sounds like a lot of fun. However, the players who participated in it will face fines from the league for violating its gambling policy, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Over 30 players, including Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King, were in Las Vegas over the weekend to participate in the inaugural Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship, according to USA Today’s Jarrett Bell. Although the organizers of the event say they had discussions with the NFL about staying in compliance with the league’s rules on gambling, the NFL says this will be a problem for the players involved.
The NFL’s gambling policy prohibits players from making official appearances in casinos. That is the sticking point for the arm wrestling event, which was held at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.
“Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy,” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president for communications and public affairs, said via Bell. “No one sought pre-approval.”
League officials maintain that they were not informed of the event, but the organizer of the competition, Alan Brickman, says his company reached out to the league to try to get them involved from the beginning.
Brickman said that since January, he tried to incorporate the NFL as a partner for the event. The league declined, but Brickman says they did provide guidelines to keep the arm wrestling competition consistent with the league’s gambling policy, including not showing any actual gambling or alcohol on the broadcast when the competition airs on CBS later this spring.
With the upcoming relocation of the Raiders to Las Vegas, the league may be forced to review its gambling policy. Bringing a team to the gambling capital of the world may present some unique challenges for the NFL.