A representative of the NFLPA told a group of lawmakers that players are highly concerned about how the spread of legal sports betting could impact their personal lives and privacy rights.

NFLPA privacy concerns
Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis is treated by team medical personnel during a game against the Atlanta Falcons. (Image: Getty)

That message from NFLPA vice president of business and legal affairs Casey Schwab was delivered to the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States on Friday while they were meeting in Cleveland.

Player Information Will Gain Value

According to a report by ESPN.com, Schwab said that the players unions from other leagues share similar feelings about the potential impact of sports betting.

There are serious consequences, particularly for the athletes, Schwab told the legislators. Because of those consequences, the athletes voice must be heard, particularly as we contemplate sports betting in the country.

There are several areas of concern. One that has been brought up by other parties in the past is the commoditization of data related to sporting events and individual players. Information about injuries, illnesses, and game plans could become much more valuable to bettors, which could lead some individuals to try and get that data by any means possible, including paying off players or those around them for inside information.

That information what our athletes are doing, where theyre going has a price tag on it, Schwab told the legislators. And as more money goes into sports betting, that price tag goes up.

Theres also the issue of public perception, both in terms of game integrity and what fans and bettors think of players who struggle during competition. Particularly on social media, players are often berated by gamblers and fantasy sports participants unhappy with their performances, a problem that could intensify as more money is bet on games.

A lot of people look at us as I dont know if its subhuman but not necessarily human, not necessarily having those feelings, those issues that everyone else is having, NFLPA president Eric Winston said in a video presentation to the lawmakers.

Players Unlikely to Profit from Betting Industry

This is hardly the first time that the various players unions have expressed concern about how players will be impacted by the May Supreme Court decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In April, even before SCOTUS released its ruling, the players associations of the four major North American sports leagues issued a joint statement addressing the possibility that legalized sports betting could become widespread.

Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses, the statement read. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players rights and the integrity of our games are protected.

It could be argued that for professional athletes, not much will change. They already enjoy very limited privacy, with their injuries and movements being broadcast daily to both bettors and fans alike. But collegiate athletes could certainly see changes designed to help protect the integrity of their competitions, with athletic directors from the Big Ten Conference recently calling on the NCAA to create a national injury reporting system for college football.

Another question that has come up is how individual players might be able to take advantage of opportunities to profit off the expanding sports betting industry. This would be impossible for collegiate athletes given NCAA regulations, and even the NFL has a prohibition on players signing endorsement deals with gambling firms. While there may be other creative ways to profit, Schwab told legislators that these opportunities will likely be limited.

I look at the landscape for commercial opportunities, and I dont see a pot of gold, he said.

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