If players have learned anything in recent months, it’s that any bets they place on their own phones could come back to haunt them. The next step in the league’s effort to detect gambling-policy violations will become harder for the NFL to prove.
When players use their phones to bet, those phones inevitably can betray them. When players use others to bet for them, how will anyone ever know?
That basic reality has been obscured by the stream of suspensions. To the average observer, the imposition of punishment creates an impression that the system works. The truth is that, so far, the NFL has captured only the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. For players who are or who will be making their bets through others, how will the league ever prove it?
It’s a simple approach. A family member or a friend opens the account and places the bet. The players finances the wagers. The player gets the winnings. Of course, the friend/family member might end up with a healthy tax bill if there are significant winnings. But that’s something the player who has won money that, for him, won’t be taxed can deal with at the proper time. (For players who bet and lose, it won’t be an issue.)
How would the league even begin to investigate such violations? Unless the sports books have the ability to track others in the player’s orbit, the sports books can never deliver the kind of clear evidence that has fueled the 10 suspensions dating back to Calvin Ridley, during the 2021 season.
The practice of players using others to place bets could end up being rampant. It might already be. For every player who didn’t simply know or understand how the technology works, there could be plenty of others that did and that do and that realize how to avoid getting busted.
The league likely would find out about only if the relationship between the player and the person doing the betting on the player’s behalf becomes fractured to the point that the person placing the bets decides to rat the player out. That’s why…