Is it legal to bet on MLB? Betting on baseball responsibly 2024

Mar 25, 2024

Opening Day is nearly here after a long offseason filled with blockbuster trades and free-agent signings. Opening Day signifies the start of a 162-game season in Major League Baseball, and all 30 teams will take the field. This season, Opening Day is on Thursday, March 28. As the new season arrives, you might be wondering about the legality of betting on baseball. Here is a brief overview of legally betting on baseball and how to avoid a gambling addiction. 

Is betting on MLB baseball legal?

Location 

Yes, betting on baseball is legal. However, you must be in a state that has legalized sports betting. Over three-quarters of the states have legalized either in-person or online sports gambling, while only 30 states have online betting. Here are the 30 states you can legally use an online sportsbook:

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.

Certain states have only legalized in-person gambling, and they include:

Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

Finally, 12 states have not legalized any form of sports betting:

California, Texas, Idaho, Utah, Minnesota, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska and Hawaii.

Age

Along with being located in a state that has legalized sports betting, you must be the minimum age required to gamble. The majority of states in the country have a minimum age of 21, but there are a few states that require a person to only be 18 years old. Those states include Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Montana. With that said, you must obey the rules of the state in which you are betting. That means a 20-year-old from Montana cannot legally gamble in New York. 

Prohibited from betting on MLB

Major League Baseball is very strict on its gambling policy. That’s also why the Shohei Ohtani and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara scandal has become as massive as it has, since Ohtani is one of baseball’s greatest players. In Rule 21 of MLB’s rulebook, it states that “Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year” (MLB). 

In summary, any person who is employed by an MLB team or works for the MLB is prohibited from betting on baseball. That ranges from a clubhouse employee for a team to a manager to a star player, like Ohtani. Baseball has had several gambling scandals in the past, and there had not been any recent infractions until the Ohtani and Mizuhara situation. Both Ohtani and Mizuhara are prohibited from betting on baseball since Ohtani is a player and Mizuhara was employed as an interpreter by the Dodgers before he was recently fired. 

How to bet responsibly on MLB: Tips & Advice

Baseball is often considered one of the hardest sports to bet on. For just one game, you often have to consider the starting pitching matchup, starting lineups, bullpens, location, and weather. There are plenty of moving pieces in each game, and at times it can be easy to get carried away with dozens of games almost every day for several months. If you are going to bet on baseball in 2024, be sure to first familiar yourself with how to gamble responsibly:

  • Limit how many bets you place each day

  • Set a bankroll (a betting budget), and don’t ever exceed it.

  • Learn what your unit is and stick to it (a unit, your standard bet size, is generally 1-4% of your total bankroll)

  • Never chase your losses, even if there are later games on that day.

  • Make sure you know all of the rules and how they could affect the game or your bet.

  • Do your research. Betting on baseball can be very difficult. 

Remember, the baseball season is long and grueling. Opening Day is in March, and the season doesn’t end until late October. It’s important to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re down one day or week, don’t increase your unit size to try to make up for your losses. That’s an easy way to lose more than initially intended. Stick to your bet size and keep yourself in check, which can help lower your chances of developing a gambling addiction or related issue.

Avoiding Gambling Addiction

Problem Gambling warning signs

Opening Day is almost here, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with gambling addiction warning signs, whether it’s you or someone you know who may be heading down a dangerous path. By knowing these signs, you can learn how to try to avoid developing a betting addiction yourself, or notice if your friend or loved one may be struggling. Some of the most obvious warning signs include asking for money to gamble, skipping time with friends or family to gamble, and spending more time in a casino or on an online sportsbook.

Other warning signs may be more subtle, like lying about gambling losses to friends, hiding gambling debts, or trouble at work as a result of gambling. Plus, there are more dangerous warning signs like stealing to fund a gambling addiction or not being able to pay bills due to gambling-related debts. While each sign can be different and easier or harder to see, each sign is just as important to notice and get the person help. 

Help and resources for Gambling Addiction 

A gambling addiction can cause mental and financial problems for you, your friends, or your family. Fortunately, there is help available. Birches Health is an online treatment provider that offers 100% confidential care with tailored intake and ongoing assistance. Along with a $0 out-of-pocket cost for many patients, Birches has a team of specially trained professionals with years of experience. This is not a battle that needs to be fought on your own, as Birches Health is ready to help you or a loved one overcome the addiction. 

If you believe you or someone else could benefit from the Birches Health offerings, please call (833) 483-3838 or email hello@bircheshealth.com.

Sources:

Major League Rule 21 | MLB.com

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