|Bookmakers are accusing the NFL of a hypocritical stance today, following its resolution to sponsor its own fantasy football league on the web this season, while scrupulously maintaining its distance from the gambling world.|
Many feel that, although free to enter, fantasy football is, in effect, another way to wager on pro football. Instead of point spreads, fantasy league players ‘bet’ on individual performances. Winners earn prizes such as a trip for two to the Super Bowl and officially licensed gear.
However, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has defended the policy: 'We've looked at (the issue) for about five years and analysed the different shades and variations of fantasy football and have tried to make it very clear that ours does not in any way, shape or form involve the elements that make it viewed as gambling.'
Bob Scucci, director of the Stardust Race and Sports Book feels they are giving out mixed messages: 'Their official position is that they don't condone gambling. But they know they wouldn't be half as popular if people didn't bet on games. I think the NFL has to realize this. They know it's good for the game. They don't have their heads in the sand. They know what feeds them.'
During last year’s Superbowl, the NFL refused to run adverts promoting Las Vegas Tourism quoting their policy that, “the league has a long-standing policy against any advertising or promotional activities by players, clubs, coaches or other management personnel that can reasonably be perceived as constituting affiliation with or endorsement of gambling or gambling-related activities,'