With the first Super Bowl in the history of Las Vegas taking center stage over the next two weeks, the NFL revealed Tuesday that it will be investigating New England Patriots rookie wideout Kayshon Boutte, who was arrested last week by the Louisiana State Police in relation to a 13-month run of sports gambling he allegedly engaged in while in that state.
In a warrant issued for his arrest, Louisiana authorities alleged that Boutte placed at least 8,927 online bets between April 6, 2022, and May 7, 2023, which encompassed his final season playing for LSU. At the time of the alleged wagers, Boutte was 20 years old and not legally allowed to gamble in the state.
Authorities also claim that 17 of the bets were on NCAA football games, including six involving LSU. To date, there have not been any allegations that Boutte placed any wagers against his or LSU’s favor — an act that could have constituted an effort at game-fixing. Boutte turned himself in to state authorities last week and is facing a felony count of computer fraud and a misdemeanor charge of participating in gaming under the age of 21.
Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said Tuesday that the league will also be conducting an investigation into Boutte. He reveled the news during a conference call with reporters that focused on the league’s ongoing work in sports wagering policies and conduct.
“Certainly we’re aware of the [Boutte] situation,” Miller said. “It is under an ongoing investigation. … When there is news to report, we’ll certainly share it with you. … I can’t tell you what the outcome of the investigation would be, but there’s certainly enough there for us to pursue an investigation and to look into it.”
While the NFL’s personal conduct policy continues to have a gray area when it comes to retroactively punishing players for events prior to their time in the league, coaches, players and other personnel have been subject to scrutiny over acts that occurred prior to their employment with teams or the league office. The league’s personal conduct policy was specifically altered in 2023 to include off-field conduct prior to NFL employment. A league source also told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday that any ongoing investigation into Boutte by the NFL would not be limited to the charges against him in Louisiana but would also scrutinize any activity that occurred during his employment with the Patriots.
“I would expect it to be expansive and into the present day,” the source said.
The revelation of the league’s involvement in a Boutte investigation comes at an interesting intersection for the league, which will find itself under a microscope the next two weeks with its first Las Vegas Super Bowl. As it stands, the league and its teams have a wide swath of gambling advertising, sponsorship and licensing deals on the books, creating a fine line between the NFL’s revenue streams and what it still considers to be “no fly zones” of sports wagering. That has been on display the past two seasons, with a multitude of players suspended for gambling activity, including 10 over the course of the previous offseason.
On Tuesday, Miller and the league sought to once again express the expanded work they are doing to “safeguard” the integrity of the game while also making the rules clear to personnel. That will include a Super Bowl week in which any player or team employee from the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs — or league employee associated with the Super Bowl — will be expressly prohibited from any form of gambling. That means not just sports wagering but all forms of gambling.
“The rules are no different for the participating team’s players and other personnel as they would be for any other game,” Miller said. “When on business, there is no gambling, whether it be sports gambling or otherwise. And any player, coach, personnel [and] yours truly who would be caught or identified gambling at a casino would be eligible for the disciplinary process. … The rules associated with gambling have been made clear to the players, the coaches, the league, the club personnel, everybody else — so much so that they should be prepared for anything that Las Vegas has to offer in that realm.”