What are the gambling policies for each sports league? Here's what players can and can't bet on

Sports betting rules are different for players in each American league

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Gambling has become a prevalent part of sports.

As of March 2024, 38 states have legalized some form of betting -- whether that be online or retail.

While fans are encouraged to give it a try, athletes and those associated with leagues are strictly prohibited from gambling due to the obvious concerns of insider trading and match fixing.

Still, there have been several instances where players have been disciplined for sports betting. Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter and Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani are the latest athletes finding themselves in potential trouble, with both being investigated by their respective leagues.

What exactly are the policies for each sports league? And what are the punishments for violations?

Here's a league-by-league breakdown of the sports gambling policies:

What is the NFL's gambling policy?

Players are allowed to bet on non-NFL events through legal sportsbooks. All other league personnel (coaches, officials, trainers, etc.) are prohibited from all sports betting. The only other rule for players is that they cannot place bets from any team or league facility, or when they're on the road with their team.

NFL players are allowed to play fantasy sports with some restrictions on the type of contests and the value of the prizes available, but NFL personnel cannot accept prizes from fantasy contests in excess of $250.

Each player's contract includes rules about gambling, so they are bound to signed agreements acknowledging the restrictions. Players who bet on the NFL receive indefinite suspensions of at least one year (Calvin Ridley, Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore, Josh Shaw, Shaka Toney), while players who placed bets in non-permitted locations have received six-game suspensions (Jameson Williams, Stanley Berryhill).

What is the NBA's gambling policy?

Players, teams and league employees can't bet on NBA or any of its properties (WNBA, G-League, summer league, etc.). If sports betting is legal in their area, players and employees are allowed to bet on other sports. Fantasy basketball can be played as long as there is no cash prize.

Players are not required to sign a statement acknowledging the policy, but there is language in the collective bargaining agreement that covers topics such as sports gambling.

Offending parties can be fined, suspended or possibly have their contracts terminated if found guilty. You can read more about Porter's allegations and potential punishments right here.

What is MLB's gambling policy?

All in-uniform personnel, as well as team and league employees, are allowed to gamble on anything not related to baseball. Betting on amateur games and fantasy baseball are not allowed, but players can bet where betting is legal with no restrictions (as long as the bookmaker is legal).

Athletes are not required to sign a statement acknowledging the policy, but the rules are clearly stated in the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2022.

Punishment depends on the severity of the offense. Match fixing (tanking or losing on purpose) results in permanent expulsion. A 3-year ban is permitted if players receive a personnel offer or receive a gift for defeating an opponent. Players will be permanently banned if they offer a gift to an umpire.

More details about MLB's gambling policy can be found here.

“All of this has been a complete lie,” Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani said Monday in regards to the gambling scandal surrounding him and his interpreter.

What is the NHL's gambling policy?

Like other professional leagues, hockey players are not allowed to bet on their own league but are permitted to bet on non-NHL events. The rule allies to players and employees working for teams and the league.

NHL players must acknowledge the league's gambling policy when they sign their contract, which clearly states the restrictions.

Punishment can include fines, canceled contracts, suspensions for definite or indefinite periods, or complete expulsions. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has the power to impose discipline, as stated in the collective bargaining agreement.

What is the NCAA's gambling policy?

Gambling on any sport sponsored by the NCAA at any level is prohibited, but gambling on horse racing, boxing, MMA or cricket is allowed. This policy applies to student-athletes, coaches, administrators and officials.

Student-athletes are required to annually sign the NCAA Student-Athlete Statement, which covers rules like the gambling policy. If a school discovers a violation, the student-athlete must be declared ineligible and the Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff reviews on a case-by-case basis. Punishments can be harsher or looser depending on the frequency of bets, money wagered and sports involved.

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