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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Keep gambling out of stadiums and uniforms

In the current state of professional sports, it’s nearly impossible to watch a game without going through a seemingly endless stream of sports books and gambling advertisements. Gambling has been a huge revenue push for the NFL and the sponsorship revenue for the 2022-23 season totaled over $2 billion dollars.  

In 2022, 25 teams had at least one betting sponsorship. Others had multiple like the Detroit Lions who were sponsored by WynnBet, BetMGM and the Soaring Eagle Casino. Every time the Lions players show up to work, they have to walk by and play under gambling advertisements all over their stadium and facilities.

Last April, two Detroit Lions players were suspended from the NFL for violating its gambling policies. Stanley Berryhill and the 2022 Lions first round pick, Jameson Williams, were each suspended for six games for gambling on non-NFL games while at an NFL facility.  

Berryhill was released but has to wait until the end of the current season to be reinstated and fight for a highly contested roster spot. In other fields, a one-year suspension might not be as impactful, but in the NFL, where the average career only lasts three years, losing an entire year out of their prime is highly impactful for their careers.

Losing out on this year of earnings could lead to financial trouble. 15% of NFL players file bankruptcy after they retire, and it is estimated that 78% report financial difficulties for the exact same gambling problems. Although the league is pushing for gambling to become intertwined within football, it still punishes its players for using these same products.

It’s completely unreasonable for the NFL to severely punish players for gambling when it’s purposely pushing sports betting. Although many blame the players, they are becoming increasingly overwhelmed as the stadiums, facilities and uniforms become overrun with gambling advertisements.

There’s a similar problem happening in Las Vegas, especially with the return of the Raiders. As the City of Sin gains more and more attention, many players and former players complain about the presence of gambling in sports. In recent years, Vegas started the Golden Knights and the Aces while taking the Raiders and A’s from Oakland. The city is known for glorifying gambling and shoving advertisements into your face, so sports betting is even more inescapable for the athletes.

The problem is parlayed even more in England as many of the players are forced to wear huge gambling advertisements on their uniforms. Nine of the twenty teams are sponsored by gambling companies.

Rising star English striker Ivan Toney had a breakout year last season before being handed an eight month ban and a $62,500 fine for 232 breaches in their betting rules. Toney had to play every game and practice every day representing Hollywood Bets across his chest. For a player struggling with betting, it is completely unfair to force him to wear the same addiction he struggled with for work every day. 

Gambling problems are an addiction, not just a hobby, and they should be treated as one. If people with substance abuse issues had to show up to work every day with their issues on their work uniforms, it would be seen as inhumane. We should be protecting these athletes, and the advertisements should have no place near the players. There should be a complete ban of gambling advertisements at the stadiums and on uniforms. The teams can easily find new sponsors that have as deep pockets as the casinos and sports books.  

This story was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on X at @ConorMcPherson_.

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