College sports betting is legal in roughly two dozen states today.

Most states with legal sports betting allow licensed sportsbooks to take wagers on NCAA games, often subject to certain restrictions on the types of wagers that sportsbooks may accept on college games.

Each state approaches sports betting differently, resulting in a patchwork of rules and regulations that can be confusing. On this page, BettingUSA provides a straightforward rundown on how college betting works in each state.

States with Legal College Sports Betting

The following map displays where college betting is legal for quick reference. Readers may click or tap on any state for more information about local laws and licensed sportsbooks.

States with Legal College Betting Placeholder
States with Legal College Betting

Map Key

  • Blue: It is legal to bet on college games online
  • Green: State is home to retail sportsbooks that may accept wagers on NCAA games
  • Yellow: Legal sports betting legislation has been passed; first sportsbooks still to open
  • Red: Sports betting is legal but college betting is prohibited

The Unique Rules Governing College Sports Betting

College sports are often given special consideration in states that legalize sports betting. In many jurisdictions, special rules apply only to college betting. For example, it is common for states to permit college sports betting but prohibit wagers on in-state teams.

The inclination of regulators to treat college betting differently stems from several concerns that are either unique to college sports or magnified at the collegiate level.

  • Young, unpaid athletes may be more susceptible to bribery and outside pressure to throw games or share inside information
  • Universities are interested in protecting the wholesome, amateur image of the sports programs upon which they depend for funding and recruitment
  • University officials say they are subject to increased integrity costs as they must educate staff, students, and players on the rules governing their behavior, what information they can share with others, risks students and staff face, and more

Proponents of legalization contend that it is better to regulate the activity rather than push it underground to illegal offshore sportsbooks and local bookies. If people are going to bet on college sports either way, it is better to have a regulatory regime. A well-regulated sports betting industry provides oversight, funding for problem gambling treatment, and the ability to detect suspicious betting patterns.

Both arguments have merit, but most states that have legalized sports betting allow college betting with some restrictions.

Below is an overview of the college betting rules in each state where sports betting is legal.

Arkansas law permits wagers on NCAA events with no particular restrictions on the types of bets that operators may accept. Regulations issued by the Arkansas Racing Commission outline the types of bets that may be offered by sportsbooks.

Section 20.120 states it is prohibited to wager on amateur sports or athletic events except “collegiate sporting or athletic events.”

Colorado sportsbooks may accept all types of wagers other than proposition bets on NCAA games. Rule 1.3 (3) states:

No licensee shall conduct or permit on its premises or through any online or electronic manes any sports betting on a high school sports event, a video game that is not sanctioned by a sports governing body or equivalent as an electronic competition, or proposition bets on collegiate sports events…

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission also maintains a full list of the accepted bet types for each sport that offers more details. Readers who follow that link and visit the NCAA Football tab will see that many wagers commonly accepted as “prop bets” actually are allowed in Colorado.

It appears the law primarily intends to prohibit prop bets on individual players such as “player A to record a sack,” which is allowed for NFL games but not for NCAA games.

Delaware sportsbooks may accept wagers on all college games except those that involve Delaware colleges. The definition of “sports lottery” in regulations published by the lottery explains:

“Sports lottery” means a lottery in which the winners are determined based on the outcome of any professional or collegiate sport or sporting event, including racing, held within or without the State, but excluding collegiate sporting events that involve a Delaware college or university and amateur or professional sporting events that involve a Delaware team.”

Regulations adopted by the Illinois Gaming Board permit college betting but prohibit wagers on games that involve Illinois colleges.

Section 1900.1120 (b) of the permanent rules provides an outline of prohibited wagers. Among other restrictions, it says this regarding NCAA betting:

2) Wagering on a sports event involving an Illinois collegiate team or individual competing through an Illinois collegiate program.

A) This prohibition includes any combination wager the outcome of which may be determined by the performance of an Illinois participants, including but not limited to:

i) Parlay bets in which a component contest involves an Illinois collegiate team or individual competing through an Illinois collegiate program; and

ii) Fantasy sports in which individuals competing through an Illinois collegiate program may be selected

A directive issued by the Indiana Gaming Commission limit college betting to Division I competitions and prohibit in-play prop bets on college games.

From the directive:

1. Wagering on collegiate events shall be limited to NCAA Division I sports. For college football, NCAA Division I includes both Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision.

2. In-play, collegiate player proposition wagers are prohibited. In-play wagering is defined as wagers placed after a sporting event has started. See IC 4-38-2-10.

It is legal to bet on college games in Iowa, but state law prohibits player prop bets on college games. The definition of legal sports wagering found in IAC 491-13.1 reads as follows:

“Sports wagering” means the acceptance of wagers on an authorized sporting event by any system of wagering as authorized by the commission. “Sports wagering” does not include placing a wager on the performance or nonperformance of any individual athlete participating in a single game or match of a collegiate sporting event in which a collegiate team from this state is a participant…”

Michigan sports betting law permits wagers “on any amateur or professional athletic event or other event that is not prohibited by state or federal law and is approved by the board.”

The Michigan Gaming Control Board provides a catalog of approved wagers here. The current catalog permits many types of bets on NCAA games, ranging from the game outcome to the game’s largest lead.

Regulations approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission permit sportsbooks to accept wagers on college games. Under state law, licensed MS sportsbooks may accept the same types of bets on college games as they accept on professional sports events.

Rule 3.11 on prohibited wagers states:

(a) No wagers may be accepted or paid by any book on:

1. Any amateur sport or athletic event other than;

i. Olympic sporting or athletic events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, subject to limitation by the Executive Director or the Executive Director’s designee in his sole and absolute discretion, and

ii. Collegiate sporting or athletic events;

2. Any sport or athletic event which the licensee knows or reasonably should know, is

being placed by, or on behalf of a coach or participant in that event. Each licensee

shall take reasonable steps to prevent the circumvention of this regulation;

3. The outcome of any election for any public office; and

4. Any event which the Executive Director deems to be contrary to public policy.

Montana sports betting law allows the official lottery app and kiosks to accept wagers on college games. The law does not place unique restrictions on the types of wagers the lottery may accept on college events.

MCA § 23-7-103 defines “sports wagering” as follows:

“Sports wagering” means accepting wagers on sporting events or portions of 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 but not limited to in-person or over the internet through websites and on mobile devices. The term includes but is not limited to single-game bets, teaser bets, parlays, over-under, money line, pools, exchange wagering, in-game wagering, in-play bets, and proposition bets.

Additional regulations adopted by the Montana State Lottery Commission provide no additional restrictions on NCAA betting.

Nevada’s gaming regulations allow sportsbooks to take the same types of wagers on college games as they do on professional sports.

Regulation 22.120 states sportsbooks may accept wagers on the following types of events:

1. Professional sport or athletic events sanctioned by a governing body;

2. Events held at a track which uses the pari-mutuel system of wagering;

3. Olympic sporting or athletic events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, subject to

limitation by the Chair or the Chair’s designee in the Chair’s sole and absolute discretion;

4. Collegiate sporting or athletic events;

5. Other events; and

6. Virtual events.

In New Hampshire, sportsbooks may book wagers on college sports subject to two restrictions. Sportsbooks may not take bets on games involving New Hampshire colleges or on college games held in New Hampshire.

However, sportsbooks may accept wagers on the outcomes of tournaments even if some NH colleges compete in the tournament or if some of the tournament’s games occur in New Hampshire.

NH Rev Code § 287-I:1 explains:

XI. “Prohibited sports event” means: 

(a) A collegiate sports event in which one of the participants is a collegiate team of a college institution that is primarily located in New Hampshire; 

(b) A collegiate sports event that takes place in New Hampshire; 

(c) Any high school sports event in any location; 

(d) Any amateur sports event where the participants are primarily under the age of 18; provided that “prohibited sports event” does not include the games of a collegiate sports tournament in which a New Hampshire college team participates, nor does it include any games of a collegiate sports tournament that occurs outside New Hampshire even though some of the individual games or events are held in New Hampshire; and provided further that sports wagers are permitted on collegiate sports tournament games in which a New Hampshire college team participates only if the outcome of the wager is based on the outcome of all games within the tournament.

New Jersey law permits college sports betting with two exceptions. Sportsbooks may not accept wagers on college games in NJ and games held anywhere involving NJ colleges.

The law provides exceptions for tournaments that involve NJ teams and tournaments held elsewhere in which some of the individual games are held in-state.

State law defines a “prohibited sports event” as follows:

“prohibited sports event” means any collegiate sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the event takes place. A “prohibited sports event” does not include the other games of a collegiate sport or athletic tournament in which a New Jersey college team participates, nor does it include any games of a collegiate tournament that occurs outside New Jersey even though some of the individual games or events are held in New Jersey. A prohibited sports event includes all high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games but does not include international sports events in which persons under age 18 make up a minority of the participants;

New Jersey may ease its restrictions on college betting. One senator announced in October 2020 that he is introducing legislation that would allow sportsbooks to accept wagers on college playoffs or championship games held in New Jersey or elsewhere even if they involve NJ games.

Sports betting came to New Mexico through an unconventional route. The state has never passed legislation authorizing sports betting, but several tribal casinos launched retail sportsbooks following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn PASPA.

Local tribal groups contend their Class III gaming compacts with the state include sports wagering, and local officials have not contested that assertion. As a result, state law has nothing to say on college betting, and tribal casinos are currently free to take wagers on college sports.

New York sports betting law permits wagers on college games with two exceptions:

  • No wagers on college games held in New York
  • No wagers on college games held anywhere that involve NY college teams

Here’s how state law defines a “prohibited sports event” upon which a sportsbook may not accept bets:

“Prohibited sports event” means any collegiate sport or athletic event that takes place in New York or a sport or athletic event in which any New York college team participates regardless of where the event takes place;

The law that legalized sports betting in North Carolina is short on details but includes no apparent restrictions on the types of college wagers sportsbooks may accept.

The definition of “sports wagering” provided by Gen Stat § 14-292.2 explicitly authorizes wagers on college sports:

Sports wagering. – The placing of wagers on the outcome of professional and collegiate sports contests. For purposes of this subdivision, the wager shall be deemed to occur where it is initiated and received, all of which must occur on Indian lands within the State lawfully permitted to conduct Class III gaming activities pursuant to G.S. 14-292.2(a).

The Oregon Lottery is the only operator permitted to offer mobile betting within state lines. Lottery officials decided against offering wagers on NCAA games when launching the Scoreboard App and website.

However, the state appears open to future expansion. An FAQ page on the Scoreboard website states:

Q: Will college sports be offered in the future?

A: The Lottery will engage with players, commission members, the Governor’s Office and other stakeholders to determine if expanding wagering opportunities to collegiate sports makes sense for Oregon.

Pennsylvania sports betting law permits sportsbooks to offer the same types of wagers on college sports as they offer on professional sports.

Regulations adopted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board outline the types of wagers sportsbooks may offer:

(b) The Board may permit a sports wagering certificate holder or sports wagering operator licensee on behalf of a sports wagering certificate holder to offer wagering on any of the following events:

(1) Professional athletic events.

(2) Collegiate athletic events.

(3) Professional motor race events.

(4) International team and international individual athletic events including those events governed by the International Olympic Committee and the International Federation of Association Football.

Rhode Island allows college sports betting except on games held in the state or games held anywhere that involve Rhode Island colleges.

RI Gen L § 42-61.2-1 states licensed sportsbooks may accept wagers on collegiate sporting events but provides the following definition for college sports:

“Collegiate sports or athletic event” shall not include a collegiate sports contest or collegiate athletic event that takes place in Rhode Island or a sports contest or athletic event in which any Rhode Island college team participates regardless of where the event takes place.

Tennessee sports betting law permits wagers on NCAA games, but sportsbooks may not take in-play prop bets on individual players or teams in a college game.

TN Code § 4-51-314 explains that sportsbook may not accept bets on:

(B) Individual actions, events, statistics, occurrences, or non-occurrences to be determined during a collegiate sporting event, including, without limitation, in-game proposition bets on the performance or non-performance of a team or individual participant during a collegiate sporting event.

Virginia sportsbooks may accept wagers on college games but are prohibited from taking bets on games involving Virginia colleges and accepting prop bets on college sports. However, the law provides an exception for tournaments in which Virginia colleges participate.

The two relevant portions of VA sports betting law outline these restrictions.

VA Code § 58.1-4030 provides this definition of legal sports betting:

“Sports betting” means placing wagers on professional sports, college sports, sporting events, and any portion thereof, and includes placing wagers related to the individual performance statistics of athletes in such sports and events… “Sports betting” does not include placing a wager on a college sports event in which a Virginia public or private institution of higher education is a participant.

VA Code § 58.1-4039 states:

A. 1. No person shall place or accept a bet on youth sports.

2. No person shall place or accept a proposition bet on college sports.

3. No person shall place or accept a bet on Virginia college sports.

[…]

C. The prohibitions in subdivisions A 1 and A 3 shall be limited to the single game or match in which a youth sports or Virginia college sports team is a participant. The prohibitions shall not be construed to prohibit betting on other games in a tournament or multigame event in which a youth sports or Virginia college sports team participates, so long as such other games do not have a participant that is a youth sports or Virginia college sports team.

Licensed WV sportsbooks may accept wagers on professional and college sports alike. College games are subject to no special prohibitions, as is the case in other states. Any bet sportsbooks offer on professional sports may also be offered on collegiate events.

WV Code § 29-22D-3 defines the types of sports events upon which sportsbooks may take bets:

(15) “Sports event” or “sporting event” means any professional sport or athletic event, any collegiate sport or athletic event, motor race event, or any other special event authorized by the commission under this article.

Washing sports betting law allows wagers on all college games except those involving in-state universities.

WA Rev Code § 9.46.038 provides a definition of legal sports betting that includes professional, collegiate, and Olympic sports, but includes the following exception:

(a) “Collegiate sport or athletic event” means a sport or athletic event offered or sponsored by, or played in connection with, a public or private institution that offers education services beyond the secondary level, other than such an institution that is located within the state of Washington.

Sportsbooks licensed in DC may not accept wagers on college athletic events held in the District or games held anywhere that involve local universities. However, sportsbooks may take bets on the other games in a tournament that involves DC colleges. Sportsbooks may also accept bets on the other games of a tournament, even if some of its games are held in DC.

Regulations issued by the DC Lottery prohibit certain types of college wagers with the following text:

No wagers may be accepted or paid by any Sports Wagering Operator Licensee in any of the following instances:

(a) Any collegiate sport or athletic event in which any District of Columbia based college or university team participates regardless of where the event takes place…

The law provides exceptions for the following types of college events:

(4) The other games of a collegiate sports or athletic tournament in which a District of Columba college or university team is a participant; and

(5) Any games of a collegiate tournament that occur outside the District of Columbia even though some of the individual games or events are held in the District of Columbia.

How the NCAA Approaches Sports Betting

The NCAA approaches sports betting from a position of skepticism and caution. The organization led the lawsuit against New Jersey’s effort to legalize sports betting in a case that eventually made its way to the United States Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey against the NCAA in May 2018 when it struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. The NCAA does not endorse sports betting, but it still views the activity in an unfavorable light.

A statement published prominently on the NCAA website makes the organization’s stance on sports betting clear:

NCAA rules prohibit participation in sports wagering activities and from providing information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition. Sports wagering has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the well-being of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community.  It also demeans the competition and competitors alike by spreading a message that is contrary to the purpose and meaning of “sport.” Sports competition should be appreciated for the inherent benefits related to participation of student-athletes, coaches and institutions in fair contests, not the amount of money wagered on the outcome of the competition.

The NCAA exercises significant control over student athletes’ relationship with sports betting, but colleges maintain a great degree of autonomy otherwise. As a result, individual colleges sometimes take very different approaches to sports betting.

For example, the University of Colorado announced a deal with online sports betting operator PointsBet in September 2020. Marketing plays heavily into the agreement, including the display of PointsBet marketing material at Folsom Field and the CU Events Center, radio ads on CU broadcasts, and ads on other media channels.

The deal also places a heavy emphasis on responsible gambling education and investing in CU Athletics’ Leadership and Career Development Program for student-athletes. The agreement goes far beyond a typical sports betting sponsorship agreement, but it will still put gambling ads in front of CU students in a more direct manner than advertising elsewhere.

At the other end of the spectrum are colleges that directly advocate against authorizing betting on NCAA games. One example comes from Massachusetts, where eight state universities’ presidents and athletic directors wrote a letter to lawmakers asking them to prohibit wagers on college games.

In part, the letter said this:

We recognize that during the current difficult economic climate, the Legislature desires to develop new sources of revenue, including sports wagering. But like other states, Massachusetts can gain those benefits without legalizing college sports betting.

Such a limitation is necessary to safeguard the longstanding distinctive role and contribution of student-athletes as well as to preserve the integrity of intercollegiate athletics in the Commonwealth.

Licensed College Betting Sites

Nearly every state with legal online sports betting permits wagers on NCAA games. Finding a place to bet on college games online is a matter of knowing where to look. BettingUSA provides listings of licensed sportsbooks in each state for quick reference. Every online sportsbook and mobile betting site listed at BettingUSA.com is legal, licensed, and safe.

Most state gambling regulators also provide lists of licensed sports betting operators online. For example, New Jersey customers can see licensed sportsbooks here while Indiana customers can view all licensees here. Other states offer similar listings – see our state-by-state guides for more information and links.

Aside from the occasional outlier, most licensed sportsbooks in the US provide a high-quality experience in presentation, promotions, customer support, and security. Where many sportsbooks differ is in the quality of lines offered to customers.

The difference in lines for any one college game can be significant from one sportsbook to the next in some cases. Bettors in every state should know which operators are available and pay attention to the odds offered on college games. In many cases, it is worth keeping a portion of one’s bankroll at two or more online sportsbooks to get the best prices as often as possible.

In-Play College Betting

In-play college betting is permitted in states with legal sports betting.

A handful of states enforce limits on the types of college bets that may be accepted. For example, Illinois prohibits wagers on in-state college teams, and Indiana prohibits in-play prop bets on individual players. Still, college betting is widely available in most states where sports betting is legal.

The types of in-play bets offered on NCAA games vary by sportsbook and state, but the options range from betting on the outcome of the game to the outcome of the next play.

Mobile sportsbooks usually provide a greater variety of in-game markets for high profile games. One thing that differentiates NCAA sports from the professional leagues is the sheer number of games played in a given week. The best NCAA betting sites cover games across the spectrum of competitiveness, but the biggest games consistently provide the most betting opportunities.

The types of in-game betting options offered for NCAA games vary by sportsbook, but some of the most common include:

  • Game outcome: Bet on the point spread, moneyline, or total after the game has started at updated odds – most common type of in-play bet and can be found for even the smallest college games – some games also offer alternate point spreads and totals
  • Team totals: Bet on the total points to be scored by one team only – offered throughout the game with odds adjusted in real time based on what’s happening on the field or court
  • Quarter and halftime bets: Bet on the point spread or total for a single half or quarter
  • Race to points: Bet on which team will be the first to score X points
  • Next scoring play: Predict the type of play that will score next (will the next score be a Michigan touchdown, Minnesota field goal, etc.)
  • Outcome of the next play: Bet on whether the next play will result in a score, turnover, punt, field goal attempt, and more depending on the sport
  • Instant markets: Instant markets, also called flash bets, are the shortest-term in-play wagers offered and cover outcomes such as the outcome of the next pitch or free throw