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Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw bet against his own team in the wager that led to his yearlong suspension for violations of the NFL’s gambling policy, according to a report on Tuesday.
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Shaw, 27, made a three-team parlay bet during a Nov. 10 trip to Caesars sportsbook in Las Vegas, ESPN reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter. In order to win a parlay bet, the gambler must correctly choose the winner of every game included in the wager.
Shaw’s bet involved the second-half outcomes of three NFL games in Week 10. He wagered that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who led 17-13 at halftime, would cover as 1-point favorites over the Cardinals in the second half. The Buccaneers won the game 30-27, but Shaw lost his bet.
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The substance of Shaw’s bet is irrelevant to any violations of the NFL’s gambling policy, which forbids players and any other league employees from wagering on games. Shaw was suspended through at least the 2020 season and cannot apply for reinstatement until Feb. 15, 2021.
The NFL said it “uncovered no evidence” that Shaw’s bet involved inside information or anything else that indicated the integrity of its games were compromised. Sports gambling critics have frequently cited corruption as a key factor in their opposition to its legalization.
“The continued success of the NFL depends directly on each of us doing everything necessary to safeguard the integrity of the game and the reputations of all who participate in the league,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Nov. 29 statement announcing Shaw’s suspension. “At the core of this responsibility is the longstanding principle that betting on NFL games, or any element of a game, puts at risk the integrity of the game, damages public confidence in the NFL and is forbidden under all circumstances.”
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Caesars representatives told ESPN the casino does not comment on the identities of its customers. Shaw reportedly identified himself as a “professional football player” in an application setting up his gambling account with Caesars.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a longstanding federal ban on sports betting in 2018. At present, sports betting is legal in 19 states.
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While the NFL has yet to fully embrace sports betting and supports federal regulation of the industry, several league franchises and owners have ties to gambling-related companies.
The NFL named Caesars Entertainment its official casino sponsor last January. Caesars has individual deals with seven NFL teams. The Oakland Raiders are set to relocate to Las Vegas ahead of the 2020 season.
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