As sports betting becomes more prevalent in the United States, professional leagues are beefing up their oversight and enforcement efforts. They’ve also started collaborating with sportsbooks and independent integrity monitors to gain more visibility of bets placed on their games and identify suspicious betting activity.
The NFL has already seen some repercussions, with several players getting suspended this season for violating the league’s gambling policy. Indianapolis Colts defensive backs Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry, along with Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, were all given indefinite suspensions for placing bets on NFL games last year. In addition, Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired after a probe into alleged illegal betting activity involving his team.
In 2022, the NBA banned any player or league employee from betting on its own games, and anyone else who has a role with the NBA, WNBA, G-League or Basketball Africa League can’t bet on those events either. The only exception is if sports betting is legal where the individual is located.
MLB, meanwhile, has rules against gambling on MLB games that are spelled out in the players’ contracts. The rules specifically state that “No club or league official or employee shall make any bet on any event in which he/she has a duty to perform.” Anyone found to have violated these rules faces a permanent ban from the sport.
Despite the rules against gambling, MLB does allow players to place wagers on other events. For example, it’s legal to place a bet on horse racing or other non-NFL sports in the United States, where betting is allowed. Kentucky became the first state to legalize sports betting in September 2023, with its retail and mobile sportsbooks launching a few weeks later.
New to sports betting? We’ve got you covered with a beginner-level breakdown of the basics, so you can get in on the action.
Sports betting is the act of placing a bet on an outcome of a sporting event. When you bet on a game, you’re betting that the outcome of the event will be either a win or a loss. The bet is backed by money, and you win if your prediction is correct. You can make single bets or parlays, where you place multiple bets on different outcomes.
It’s important to know your limits and gamble responsibly. If you think you may have a problem, there are resources available to help you, including self-exclude tools for a set period of time. Always play at regulated and licensed sites, which are overseen by your gaming regulatory body. This ensures that games are fair and your funds are secure. It also helps to keep gambling out of the hands of children and those at risk for problem gambling. You can find more information at the National Council on Problem Gambling and the American Addiction Centers.