The Complicated Relationship Between Sports Betting and College Sports
June 29, 2023

College athletics are closely intertwined with professional sports, so it’s only natural that bettors would also want to wager on college sports. But did you know that depending on where you live, you might not be able to bet on your alma mater at all? And if you can, there might be a host of restrictions that might not make the effort worth it anymore.

But before you write off college sports betting, let’s take a quick look at it and see where it’s legal and what you can and cannot do per state.

Is College Sports Betting Legal?

Unlike professional sports betting, where it’s completely legal in some states, college sports betting is a bit more complicated. New York, for example, allows college sports betting as long as the bet is for an out-of-state team. If it’s one of New York’s teams, you can’t bet on them.

Where Is College Sports Betting Legal?

The college sports betting landscape is complex, so here’s a handy table to help you track what you can and can’t do per state.

State Restrictions
Arizona Game bets only
Arkansas Game and prop bets
Colorado Game bets only
Connecticut Future only; can’t bet on in-state teams unless in a tournament.
Illinois In-person, pregame bets only
Indiana Game bets only; prop bets allowed pregame
Iowa Game bets only
Kansas Game and prop bets
Kentucky Game and prop bets
Louisiana Game and prop bets
Maryland Game and prop bets
Massachusetts Can’t bet on in-state teams unless in a tournament
Michigan Game and prop bets
Mississippi Game and prop bets
Montana Game and prop bets
Nebraska Only if the games are out-of-state
Nevada Game and prop bets
New Mexico Tribal casinos will decide if allowed
North Carolina Game and prop bets
North Dakota Game and prop bets
Ohio Game and prop bets
Pennsylvania Game and prop bets; no prop bets on college athletes
Puerto Rico Game and prop bets
Tennessee Game bets only; no props on athletes or in-game
Vermont Game bets only
Virginia Game bets only, but not for in-state teams
West Virginia Game and prop bets
Wyoming Game and prop bets



If sports betting is legal in your state but is not on this table, then college sports betting is either completely illegal or can only be done for out-of-state teams.

Why Do States Have Restrictions on College Sports Betting?

There isn’t a direct reason why some states don’t allow betting on college sports, but there are a few concerns, mainly regarding the well-being of college students.

One worry is that college sports betting would entice students into gambling when they should focus on their studies. Some states are even more worried as universities strike promotional deals with betting companies, and students under the legal betting age are sometimes subject to promotional betting emails. Universities argue that these deals help support their athletic programs, which have been hit badly after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Another concern is the fact that college athletes are still students. This means there’s a high chance that they’re roommates with other students who place bets on them. Experts believe this proximity and influence could affect the integrity of the betting landscape.

Is It Worth Betting on College Sports?

Ask any sports lover, and they’re likely to name some top athletes they’ve been watching since college. After all, most professional sports teams actively recruit players from a promising crop of college athletes.

So why not continue this support by betting on the athlete or their alma mater? Of course, that depends on the state’s restrictions, but there’s always a way to show your support. But at the end of the day, one thing remains the same: if you like a specific athlete or a university’s sports team, there’s no reason not to place a bet if you can.