Rules for Betting on March Madness Vary State to State

Rules for Betting on March Madness Vary State to State

Even many casual observers of sports betting in the United States are taking notice of the roaring, record-breaking start of mobile wagering in New York and that neighboring New Jersey continues to post handles of more than $1 billion.

New York launched online betting on Jan. 8 and needed only 24 days to set a national monthly record with a handle of $1.69 billion.

New Jersey sports betting, meanwhile, surpassed the $1 billion mark for the fifth consecutive month in January with a handle of $1.35 billion.

What makes those figures even more mind-boggling is that they were achieved with limitations placed in both states on betting on colleges games.

In New Jersey, that means you are prohibited from betting on college teams in the state and also on college events played within the state.

What NY Rules Mean for Big East, ACC

In New York, you can bet the event, but you cannot bet on any game that involves a New York team.

That became magnified this week as March Madness kicks into high gear.

Madison Square Garden, as usual, is the site of the Big East Conference Tournament. Play begins Wednesday and runs thru Saturday but New Yorkers can’t place wagers on games played by in-state member St. John’s.

The same is true for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, which will be held from today thru Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. No bets on games involving Syracuse.

BetMGM Sportsbook New York

How New Jersey Rules Apply

In New Jersey, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall is the site of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament, running from today thru Saturday. The tourney features three New Jersey teams (Monmouth, Rider and Saint Peter’s) and six New York teams (Canisius, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara and Siena).

New Jersey has had online sports betting since 2018 and legislators put forth a bill on the November ballot to amend the restrictions on college bets.

That measure was soundly defeated by voters as more than one million Garden State residents (1,055,709, 56.64%) went to the polls and said no to the ballot question and 808,321 (43.36%) said yes.

In both New Jersey and New York, you can bet on NCAA Tournament games, after adhering to each state’s restrictions.

BetMGM Sportsbook New York

The View from Other States

Illinois sports betting also has restrictions and Virginia, like New Jersey, shot down a bill seeking to expand college betting availability.

However, there are states that do not have the same restrictions and allow for wagers on in-state teams and events. That includes Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, and Arkansas, among others. Ohio, for instance, has yet to place restrictions for when it makes its online debut later this year. So, when it comes to betting on college hoops, there are varying degrees of March Madness, depending on where you live.


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Lou Monaco

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

Author: Bryan Simpson