Is it legal to bet on the NBA Playoffs? Gambling on basketball responsibly

Apr 22, 2024

The NBA playoffs are almost here, set to tip off on Saturday, April 20. Sixteen teams will compete for the title, including the defending champion Denver Nuggets. At the same time, the NBA has been embroiled in a sports betting controversy that recently resulted in a lifetime ban for Toronto’s Jontay Porter. So with that in the background, is it still legal to bet on the NBA playoffs? Here is a brief overview of gambling on the NBA playoffs, as well as reminders of how to gamble responsibly on basketball during the most exciting time of the season. 

Basketball and Sports Betting

NBA was a leader in legalizing regulated sports betting

The U.S. sports landscape was transformed in 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In the years since, 38 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized sports betting in some form. Back in the day, sports betting was a scary idea to most leaders of professional leagues. Commissioners were worried about the potential for an increased likelihood of players gambling and impacting the integrity of their sport. But the biggest exception was NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who felt that regulating the sports gambling industry would have more positive than negative results.

Silver wrote a 2014 op-ed in the New York Times titled “Legalize and Regulate Sports Betting” (NYT). Silver felt that if sports betting were legalized and regulated, parties could better monitor it. He became a pioneer for his desire to regulate sports gambling, and a decade later his views have led to an entirely new landscape. 

Can I bet on the NBA Playoffs?

Location Considerations

To bet on the NBA playoffs and other sports, you must be in one of the 38 states (or D.C.) that allow a form of sports betting. It’s now 30 of those states that have legalized mobile sports betting, meaning the ability to bet from your phone or computer. Those states 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.

Eight states allow in-person betting at retail locations: Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

Meanwhile 12 states do not permit any form of sports betting: California, Texas, Idaho, Utah, Minnesota, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska and Hawaii.

Age Considerations

Age restrictions for sports betting also vary and depend on the state in which you are located at the time. In the majority of locations, you need to be at least 21 years old. But, some locales require users to only be 18+ years old, including Kentucky, Montana, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming. It’s worth noting that some sportsbooks have kept their standard 21+ age restrictions in place for states that technically permit it for those 18+ years old.

Bettors must adhere to the age rules of the state where they are located at the time of placing the bet. For example, a 19-year-old Kentucky resident is not allowed to bet on sports during a trip to New York.

Is sports betting allowed for NBA players?

NBA players are not allowed to bet on the NBA, but they can bet on any other sport. That means an NBA player can place wagers on the Super Bowl or Stanley Cup, but not the NBA playoffs. Any NBA player who gambles on the NBA is subject to suspension, fines, or expulsion from the league. Recall, Jontay Porter was just banned for life after betting on the NBA and sharing confidential information with bettors.

Responsible Gaming tips for betting on the NBA

The NBA Playoffs are always exciting, with critical matchups just about every day. But before potentially placing a wager on them, it’s advisable to memorize these tips to bet responsibly.

  • Only wager amounts that you can afford to lose. See it as paid entertainment.

  • Choose a unit size - the amount of a standard bet - and never deviate from it. These are usually 1-4% of your bankroll, which is your betting budget.

  • Set limits on how much you can deposit and how long you can spend sports betting.

  • Don’t EVER chase your losses, meaning betting more to try to claw back what’s been lost.

  • Never gamble while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Problem Gambling Resources and Treatment Options

If you or someone you know may be dealing with a gambling-related issue, there are specialized resources available to help.Birches Health offers custom, digital gambling treatment options from the comfort of home. Birches’ team of specially trained professionals have decades of experience and are standing by to offer assistance if needed.  

If you believe you, a friend or a loved one may benefit from learning more about Birches Health, please call (833) 483-3838 or email hello@bircheshealth.com

Sources:

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