Legal to bet on College World Series? Gambling on NCAA baseball responsibly

May 28, 2024

The college baseball season is winding down, and soon the final eight teams will travel to Omaha, Nebraska for the College Baseball World Series. The tournament starts with 64 teams, and to reach Omaha, a team first needs to win their regional tournament to advance to super regionals. The winners of the eight super regional tournaments will then advance to the double-elimination format at the College Baseball World Series.

The College World Series is always held at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. So, for the people traveling to Omaha for the two most exciting weeks of college baseball, is it legal for them to bet on the tournament? How about those who are watching on TV? Here’s everything you need to know about betting on the College Baseball World Series this year.

How and where can I bet on the College World Series?

Is sports betting legal in Nebraska?

Sports betting is legal in Nebraska at licensed retail sportsbooks. With that said, Nebraska residents only have two locations in which they can bet on sports: the WarHorse Casino in Lincoln and Grand Island Casino Resort in Grand Island (Legal Sports Report). The WarHorse Casino is the closest location for those traveling to Omaha for the College Baseball World Series, but it is still an hour away from the ballpark. In-person sports betting has been legal for three years in Nebraska since launching in May 2021. 

The possibility of online sports betting becoming legalized in Nebraska in the near future does not seem likely. A few major sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings decided not to back a ballot initiative campaign that would have given Nebraska voters the opportunity to legalize online sports betting in the November ballot (The Independent). 

Location rules 

The legalization of sports betting has swept across the country in the last few years. In total, 38 states have legalized sports betting in some form. Only 30 of those states have legalized online sports betting though. Those jurisdictions include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Nebraska is one of the few states that only offer in-person sports betting. The others are Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. 

That leaves 12 states that have not legalized sports betting in any form. Those include California, Texas, Idaho, Utah, Minnesota, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Age rules 

A person needs to be at least 21 years old to sports bet in Nebraska. That’s the case in most states around the country, but there are a few jurisdictions that have a required minimum age of just 18. Those locations include Kentucky, Montana, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C. and Wyoming.

Since sports betting rules vary by state, you must follow the rules set by the state in which you are located. For example, a 19-year-old from Wyoming who’s traveling to Omaha for the College Baseball World Series cannot bet while in Nebraska. 

Can college baseball players bet on sports?

No, college baseball players cannot bet on sports. That goes for all college athletes - not just baseball players. The NCAA is clear in their gambling rules, “NCAA rules ban participation in sports betting activities and prohibit providing information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports betting activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition.” (NCAA)

That means college baseball players cannot bet on the College Baseball World Series, a college sporting event, or a professional sports game. If a college athlete were to break the NCAA’s gambling rules, the athlete would likely be suspended at minimum, if not banned completely..

History of the College World Series

The College Baseball World Series is relatively new compared to other championships in sports. The first College Baseball World Series was in 1947, and there were only 8 teams in the entire tournament. It was single-elimination format, and the University of California defeated Yale University to conquer the inaugural CWS. In the following years, there were several changes made to the CWS, including changing the format to double-elimination and for more teams to be included.

The first time the CWS took place in Omaha was in 1950, and it’s been held at that location every year since. Throughout the following decades, the College World Series continued to gain attention which led to more teams being involved. In 1999, Super Regionals were added, and the field expanded to the current format of 64 teams (NCAA). The final major change happened in 2003 when the Championship series was changed to best-of-three games.

The College World Series has risen in popularity in the last few decades. In fact, the 2023 edition was the most-watched tournament in its history, as the two-week tournament averaged 1.65 million viewers, up 48% from the year before (ESPN). 

Gambling Addiction treatment and resources 

As legalized options for online gambling and sports betting have begun to pervade college campuses across the country, gambling addiction rates among young people have sadly started to rise. Fortunately, there are several resources available for those suffering from a gambling problem. One option is Birches Health, which offers custom online care options from a team of specially trained therapists. With convenient treatment plans, tailored intake and effective results, 90% of patients feel an increase in quality of life after Birches Health treatment.

If you, a friend, family member or colleague may benefit from Birches Health’s services, please call (833) 483-3838 or email hello@bircheshealth.com to learn more.

Sources:

Nebraska Sports Betting And Sportsbook Apps 2024

Nebraska casino executive says online sports gambling won't be on November ballot

Sports Betting - NCAA.org

How the Men's College World Series works | NCAA.com

2023 NCAA Men’s College World Series Marks Most-Watched MCWS on ESPN Platforms on Record

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