Atlanta FalconsReceiver Calvin RidleySince legal sports betting was first introduced in the United States four year ago, this is the most prominent name that has been suspended from gambling.
It's unlikely that he will be the last.
Stakeholders in the new betting environment face a huge challenge in preventing players, officials, and coaches from betting on the games they play. Participants should not be betting on events that they know about, or could have an impact on.
According to the NFL, there was no evidence that Ridley had used inside information or games were compromised. The NFL also denied that Ridley placed his online wagers in November 2021. Ridley, who was on the non-football injury roster with the Falcons at the time, had already announced his intention to retire from football in order to focus on his mental health.
Ridley is now the second NFL player to lose his license to wager on games. The suspension was in response to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed states to legalize sports betting. The ruling has allowed legal betting markets to be established in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Ridley first recognized the legal market in betting, and then-President Barack Obama.Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh ShawAfter an NFL investigation revealed that he had wagered in league games, Shaw was removed from the roster in 2019. Shaw was reinstated by the NFL in 2021 but has yet to be picked up by a team.
Ridley's $11.1 million salary will be forfeited next season if he is suspended.
What was Ridley's job?
Ridley placed three multileg parlay bets on NFL games that included at least one NFL match in November 2021. This was against the league's policy.
The Hard Rock sportsbook was used to place the bets online.
He placed parlays of three, five, and eight teams, each with a $500 risk. According to sources, his parlays included Falcons “to win.” The Falcons were small road favorites in the playoffs. Jacksonville JaguarsOn Nov. 28, Atlanta beat the spread by 21 points to 14. ESPN has not revealed if Ridley tipped on the Falcons to win on the moneyline (to win straight up) and if he tipped on the spread.
Sources say Ridley placed wagers on multiple sports including the NBA for larger stakes than his $500 parlays. This could have been upwards of $10,000. With legal operators, the NFL gambling policy allows players with NFL licenses to place bets on other sports than football.
Ridley was a fugitive.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Ridley placed bets using his cell phone but did not register a gambling account with Hard Rock's Florida casino. Ridley placed the bets while he was not in Florida, which triggered a geolocation violation that led to further investigation by the sportsbook.
Online sportsbooks use geolocation to track where the bets are placed. The geolocation service gathers data from the device that is used to place the wager, including IP addresses.
After receiving the geolocation notice from Hard Rock, the sportsbook notified Genius Sports. Genius Sports is an NFL partnership that monitors and monitors the league's betting market. Ridley was eventually suspended. Genius Sports is a London-based firm that distributes data to all leagues including the NFL to sportsbooks worldwide and looks out for unusual betting patterns.
What can be done by sportsbooks to stop players or other prohibited personnel betting on their leagues
It's difficult for sportsbooks not to allow players, coaches or referees to place bets on their leagues. Many states have passed regulations that prohibit players, coaches, trainers, and other personnel from placing bets on professional sports leagues. New York's rules for sports betting prohibit anyone from wagering on any sports event. New York's sports betting rules prohibit the participation of players union personnel, agents and team owners, as well as employees of sports governing organizations.
Jeff Ifrah, an eminent Washington gaming lawyer, stated that it is difficult for betting houses to identify illegal bettors, particularly if the league doesn't have a complete list or identifiable data.
“It might be possible that a football player is gambling, but the NFL has not given their database and integrated with it.” [a sportsbook]The sportsbook won't be able identify the player,” Ifrah stated to ESPN. “And they are not going to blacklist someone just because their name matches that of a football player. If the league doesn't provide that list, it's hard to do that.
Conscious Gaming is a Nevada-based company that believes it has the technology necessary to identify illegal bettors. According to Anna Sainsbury who is trustee of Conscious Gaming, and CEO at GeoComply which provides geolocation services to all U.S. sportsbook operators, the company's PlayPause platform, which creates an interstate self-exclusion list and impermissible betting list, the company's “PlayPause” platform is still in its early stages of launching with regulators and operators.
Sportsbooks could add impermissible gamblers, such as athletes or coaches, to a shared data base to allow them to cross-reference with customers, much like they do with problem gamblers who have self excluded.
“With the rapid growth of sports betting in the U.S. market we see the opportunity for us to leverage more innovative, reliable methods to mitigate gambling problem and ensure impermissible gamblers are not permitted to wager based on league policies or regulatory requirements,” Sainsbury said to ESPN. The consequences for any person whose participation could compromise the integrity of the betting or the event could be severe. We can create a regulated and respected market only if we have player safeguards, fraud detection, effective age and identification verification. Operators have confidence that players will comply, regardless of whether they've been self-excluded.
Also, sportsbooks use KYC (know your customer) protocols. These vary from one state to the next and are often defined with terms such as best practices or measures or risk assessment. KYC is used to identify prohibited bettors and money laundering. The amount wagered triggers enhanced procedures. This includes random auditing deposits, asking personal identification data, and running credit and background checks through services such as Lexis Nexis or Experian.
New York licensees are directed to identify the customers and play types that pose the greatest risk of money laundering. Every transaction exceeding $10,000 must be reported to the federal agency. New York could also scrutinize wagers of at least $5,000.
What is the NFL policy regarding players betting on sports?
All league personnel including owners, trainers, officials and security personnel as well as consultants and club employees are forbidden from placing bets on NFL games or events.
What can the NFL do for players and other prohibited personnel to be prevented from betting on the NFL?
The NFL offers gambling education for players and their staff. In team facilities, there is signage warning about the dangers of betting. The league also distributes instructional videos featuring Shaw that are mandatory for all teams to view.
The NFL also has relationships with the industry of sports betting, which have established lines for communication between the league and sportsbook operators.
However, it is impossible to stop players and prohibited personnel placing bets against the league. It is very difficult to stop a player or staff member from placing a bet on the NFL because they have violated league policy. Proxy betting, which involves having someone place a wager for you on your behalf, is against many state regulations. However it is common in the sports betting community.
The league's greatest weapon is deterrence. In Ridley and Shaw's case, however, it wasn't enough to stop them. Shaw, who was on injured reserve for Cardinals and bet on NFL games, was also suspended. Shaw was reinstated on March 20, 2021 but has not been purchased.
Is it too harsh to suspend a player for one year because he bets on his team winning when he is not active?
The issue is up for discussion. It's up for debate. Again, the NFL's greatest tool to discourage players from gambling on the league is deterrence.
EPIC Risk Management, a multinational company with its headquarters in Delaware, works with players and leagues to raise awareness about the dangers of gambling. John Millington, EPIC Risk Management's director of sports partnerships, stated that Ridley posted on social media that Ridley had only wagered $1500 and that he doesn't have a gambling problem.
Millington said Wednesday that it might be different if you look at the situation from the perspective of gambling-related damage. “Research from Australia showed that gambling caused harms up to 85%. This means that a sports bet that could cost Calvin as much as $10 million and the prime year of his NFL career could and should be considered as gambling activity.
Millington is not in agreement with Ridley's argument that Ridley’s one-year suspension was too harsh.
Millington said that “Sanctions can be an effective and necessary deterrent.” “But if the 12-month sanction isn't enough to stop a player betting on their own sport then I fear that increasing those sanctions will prove futile.”
He said, “Equally, I think that a 12-month ban for gambling on your sport is too harsh.” If the sanctions are not effective in deterring players whose gambling has become problematic or harmful, it is unavoidable that they will place money on events where they have direct influence over the outcome.