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What Happens When the NFL Welcomes Hundreds of Players to a Locale It Once Shunned?

Feb 5, 2024

It was just nine years ago that the NFL barred then Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo from hosting a fantasy sports convention in Las Vegas because it would have taken place at a space adjacent to a casino. The NFL treated Las Vegas, the most concentrated hub of legal gambling in the U.S., like a toxic waste dump and a threat to the integrity of the sport. “There was always a Berlin Wall separating the NFL from gambling,” says longtime NFL agent Leigh Steinberg.

That, of course, changed with a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that lifted bans on sports betting. The NFL gradually embraced gambling, adding sportsbook sponsors and data partners; it moved the Raiders to Vegas; it staged the draft there in 2022; and now the league is all in, with the city looking like a regular part of the Super Bowl host rotation.

As the NFL (including Romo himself, as part of CBS’s lead broadcasting team) descends on Sin City for Super Bowl LVIII, it’s worth noting there are a few remaining guardrails that restrict what players can do in Vegas. But the NFL rule that once completely barred players from even entering a casino has been discarded into the trash bin of history, alongside leather helmets and single-bar facemasks.

Source: Front Office Sports

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