Is it legal to bet on the NFL Draft? Gambling on the Draft responsibly

Apr 23, 2024

The next wave of college football stars are set to become professionals in the coming days. The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27 in Detroit, Michigan. The Draft is always an exciting time, but there seems to be even more excitement this season because of the amount of talent (especially at the quarterback position) available. However, one other question that is asked a lot this time of year: is it legal to bet on the NFL Draft? Let’s dive into the answer to that question and run through some Responsible Gaming tips.

Where can I bet on the NFL Draft?

Yes, it is legal for some people to bet on the NFL Draft in certain states. However, not every state has the same rules. Of the 30 states that have legalized online sports betting, there are 15 states, plus Washington D.C., that have no betting restrictions on the NFL Draft. That allows a person to bet on when a player will be drafted, which team a player will be drafted by, plus many other betting options. Those states are Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming. 

Next, seven other states have legalized betting on the NFL Draft in some form. These states do not offer the plethora of betting options as the states above, but they do offer some markets for the Draft. People in these states can bet on which player could be taken in the top 10 picks, but markets such as which team a player could end up on are largely unavailable. These states restrict the amount of betting markets to minimize the chance of inside information impacting them. The seven states are Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Seven states that generally offer regulated sports betting do not allow any gambling on the NFL Draft. The reasoning for most of these states is similar - they do not consider the NFL Draft a sporting event. New York claims, “The NFL draft does not fit into the definition of sports wagering as defined by statute” (The Lines). Pennsylvania is similar since the state defines a sporting event as “The business of accepting wagers on sporting events or on the individual performance statistics of athletes in a sporting event or combination of sporting events by any system or method of wagering, including over the Internet through websites and mobile applications" (Action Network). By that, Pennsylvania does not see the Draft as a sporting event. In total, the seven states that do not allow any gambling on the NFL Draft include Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. 

Dangers of betting on the NFL Draft

One thing to be very mindful of around the NFL Draft is misinformation. Teams will do anything they can to draft the player they want, which means teams can purposely spread misinformation to maximize their chances. However, that misinformation could also completely change the odds of a pick, and you could find yourself putting your money on false information. Longtime NFL agent Mike McCartney of Vayner Sports said this about the NFL Draft, "This is the time of year for subterfuge. It’s just the way it is in this league. You’re going to get misinformation” (USA Today).

It’s also important not to rely too much on NFL mock drafts. Although it might be prominent respected analysts creating these projected drafts, it is still just their best guesses. Nobody truly knows what’s going to happen during the NFL Draft because of misinformation, leaked info, unforeseen changes and trades. 

Lastly, if you’re in a state that does not have betting restrictions on the NFL Draft, you need to be mindful to never bet more than you can afford to lose. Some sportsbooks in certain states offer hundreds of betting markets for the Draft, which is dangerous since the more bets that are available, the more money you are able to wager. Remember - the NFL Draft is unpredictable, and even if you think you have a strong sense of what will happen, things can (and do) change drastically just about every year.

Responsible Gaming tips for the NFL Draft

Unlike most sporting events, the NFL Draft lasts for multiple days. That means it’s important to remember some Responsible Gaming tips for the Draft to minimize the chances of losing more than you can afford or developing a problem.

  • Never bet more than you can afford to lose

  • Set a unit and stick to it (usually 1-4% of your betting bankroll, but the amount depends on the person)

  • Be mindful of potential misinformation, as plenty of teams will try to deceive others. 

  • Mock drafts are not always correct

  • Set a limit on how much you will bet on the Draft and do not exceed it.

  • Avoid betting on the Draft under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Gambling Addiction Treatment and Resources

Whether it’s a result of betting on the NFL Draft or another event, there is help available if you or someone you know may be struggling with a gambling addiction. A convenient online option is Birches Health, which helps treat gambling addiction from the comfort of your home. Birches offers support through a team of trained professionals with years of experience. Plus, all meetings are completely confidential, and 90% of patients feel an increase in quality of life.

Sources

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