Can I Bet On College Sports In My State? A Look At How Laws Vary Ahead Of March Madness

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Selection Sunday for the Men’s NCAA Tournament is just days away, meaning it’s time to begin honing your wagering approach for March Madness. As part of your research, here’s a look at how college sports betting laws vary across states.

Bettors in New York and Louisiana are among those placing legal mobile wagers on March Madness for the first time. Unlike New York, which prohibits betting on in-state teams, there are no restrictions on collegiate betting in Louisiana.

If you are in Illinois, it’s important to note the rules regarding sports betting have changed since last year.

There’s almost as much fluidity in the rules as there has been in the men’s basketball ranks this season. So here’s a look at some state’s rules for betting on college sports.

New Yorkers Can’t Bet On In-State Teams

The good news is New Yorkers can legally place mobile sports bets on March Madness this year. No longer must you travel to one of the upstate casinos to wager on sports.

The disappointing news is you can’t bet on any in-state college program. That’s the same whether wagering from your mobile device, or at a retail sportsbook at one of the casinos.

The good news is you can bet on college games played within New York state. The prerequisite is that the game must involve two out-of-state programs.

With first- and second-round games set for Buffalo’s KeyBank Center on March 17 and 19, fans will be able to place wagers on the games. Unless, of course, an in-state school is involved.

Betting On In-State Teams Illegal In New Jersey

While New Jersey’s mobile sports betting market is flourishing, it does so despite tough restrictions when it comes to betting on college sporting events.

Betting on in-state teams is prohibited. The easiest way to wager on an in-state teams is by crossing into New York or Pennsylvania to place mobile bets. It’s not ideal, but you can bet on New Jersey’s teams from another state.

A ballot measure that would have approved betting on in-state teams was rejected by voters in November 2021. The ban on in-state contests was implemented within the state’s initial gambling rules “by lawmakers who voiced concern about the perception of the integrity of the games,” per the Associated Press reported.

New Jersey doesn’t even permit betting on college games taking place inside the state’s borders, even if the game features out-of-state programs. That point was driven home emphatically when bettors realized they couldn’t bet on the Army vs. Navy football game at the Meadowlands.

This restriction also means New Jersey sportsbooks can’t accept wages on this year’s MAAC tournament in Atlantic City.

Betting Rules, Registration Process Have Changed In Illinois

Betting on in-state schools is now legal in Illinois, but is limited in scope. You can bet on events involving in-state tease only at physical sportsbook, not online. You won’t even find odds for Illinois teams on a mobile sports betting app in Illinois.

In addition, prop bets on individual college players and live wagers on college games are still prohibited in Illinois.

The provision for limited in-state wagering on the state’s college programs is set to expire on July 1, 2023, unless lawmakers approve an extension. State Rep. Mike Zalewski told the Chicago Tribune the deadline provides the opportunity to see if concerns raised by the athletic directors at the state’s 13 Division I institutions come to fruition.

Illinois AD Josh Whitman expressed those concerns at a committee hearing in April 2021, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We have a unique situation here where our student-athletes are more susceptible to undue influence than would be, say, professional athletes,” Whitman said. “They’re living amongst the people who are betting on them, which is strange, to know that somebody who lives in the dorm room right next door might be betting on them.”

Whitman said betting on the state’s teams could also lead to “threatening” comments on social media while explaining why athletic directors opposed in-state betting.

Meanwhile, Illinois on March 5 lifted its in-person registration requirement, meaning bettors can now complete the process of registering for a sportsbook account online or on their mobile device, without having to visit a physical location.

Pennsylvania, Indiana Welcome Betting On In-State Teams, But Not Player Props

Pennsylvania residents eager to bet on the state’s Division 1 basketball programs like Villanova, Penn State, Pitt, Lehigh, and St. Joe’s are able to do so with only minor limitations.

The same holds true for Indiana residents looking to wager on Purdue, Notre Dame, Indiana, or the state’s other Division I teams.

In both states, mobile sports betting is allowed on any college game. Pennsylvania prohibits prop bets on the performances of individual players. In Indiana, player prop bets are available prior to the start of a game – there are no in-play player props available.

Permissible Bets Vary Between States

Betting on in-state teams is also prohibited South Dakota, Virginia, and Washington. Those states join the previously mentioned New York, New Jersey, and Illinois in refusing wagers on in-state schools.

Arizona’s college sports betting rules prohibit both team and player prop bets, while team propositions can be placed only prior to games in Tennessee.

While Indiana allows player prop bets until the game starts, player props at any time are prohibited in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Also read: Virginia Bill To Approve In-State College Sports Bets Dies

If you live in Connecticut, March is one of the rare times you can bet on the UConn Huskies. The state permits futures betting on Connecticut college teams only when the team is playing in an intercollegiate tournament. Wagers on individual games are not allowed.

This explanation is from the state’s website: “An intercollegiate tournament means an intercollegiate e-sports, sporting or athletic event involving four or more teams that involves one or more Connecticut teams, and the wager on the tournament is based on the outcome of all games within the tournament.”

So if you want to place a futures bet on the UConn men’s or women’s team to win the NCAA championship, you can do so.

About the Author

Mark Ashenfelter

Mark Ashenfelter is a Connecticut-based sportswriter and editor who has covered everything from NASCAR to the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. A life-long Philadelphia sports fan, in addition to Penn State football and the Baltimore Orioles, he's previously worked at ESPN, NASCAR Scene magazine and the Daily Local News in Chester County, PA.

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