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Can a Professional Athlete Bet on Themselves?

As betting on professional sports becomes more and more popular of a pastime, many newbies to the field are wondering if professional athletes are able to bet on themselves. Even if you aren’t new to the world of sports betting, some recent news stories may have you wondering the same thing.

In general, athletes are not allowed to bet on themselves or any games that they play in. However, the laws on these sorts of things often contain grey areas that leave players able to bet on themselves in some games but not others.

The regulations behind these laws are also difficult to enforce in every setting. This means that players often do end up betting on themselves, much to the dismay of sports fans everywhere. To learn more about how sports players bet on themselves and the catastrophes that could result, keep reading.

Can a Professional Athlete Bet on Sports?

Sports betting is fun, and you can’t expect to leave those playing the game out of it! The specific laws vary by state, but usually a professional athlete is allowed to bet on a sport as long it isn’t a sport in a league that they are an active part of. This means that if you are an NBA player, you are not allowed to bet on anything having to do with the NBA but you can still have fun betting on football, golf, and even soccer.

And this law doesn’t just apply to the players on the team, as managers, officials like refs, and coaches are additionally prohibited from betting on the sport that they work for. This is in order to keep them from being able to affect the game in an official manner in order to fix the outcome of their bet.


How Do Sports Books Prevent Athletes From Betting on Themselves?

When you go to place a bet at a sportsbook, they require an ID in order to place the bet. They run this ID through a system that lets them know if you are prohibited from betting the sport or not. Many online sportsbooks require similar levels of account verifications that would prevent a player from betting on themselves.

This does bring up an interesting point, however, because anonymous betting sites frequently don’t require an ID, especially if the bet is made in Bitcoin—meaning it can be easy for a player to bet on themselves anonymously. Not only that, but there is nothing in place to stop a player of any sport from visiting illegal bookies that will place the bets no matter who the person is—as long as they get a cut. Therefore, although official sports books can stop athletes from making bets on their sport, there is nothing to prevent a player from betting on themselves online or with an illegal bookie.

Are There Any Sports Where it is Legal for Players to Bet on Themselves?

Although the laws vary widely depending on the state and country the bet is being placed in, there are several sports that allow players to bet on themselves. Typically these are individual sports where the player doesn’t have the ability to fix the outcome of a game beyond playing to the best of their ability.

These sports are tennis, golf, and boxing. Again, this is still widely considered illegal, and unethical in many places in the USA. This has led to many athletes in these sports betting on themselves when they were playing overseas or in another country that doesn’t prohibit the practice. This doesn’t mean it isn’t against the team rules, or their employment contract however—but this is between them and their sponsors.

Arizona Coyotes v San Jose Sharks

Did Evander Kane Bet on Himself?

Evander Kane is a hockey player for San Jose Sharks in the NHL, and on August 1st, 2021, he was accused of betting on the games that he was playing, then specifically trying to lose said games to get paid. The accusation came from his wife however, and the claims are still under investigation.

Kane’s wife alleged that the player uses illegal bookies to place bets on the teams he plays. And under further investigation, it does appear highly suspicious that Kane declared bankruptcy in January 2021, claiming over $26.8 million in debt. Not to mention he has also been hit by a lawsuit in the first quarter of the year demanding $15 million in losses. And now the NHL will be launching a full investigation into the claims, but no solution or evidence against the player has yet to be found.

What Happens When a Player Bets on Themselves?

As it has already been established, there are many illegal ways for a sports player to bet on themselves. But what happens when they get caught? Well, this varies widely on the team as well as their contract, but the outcome can be detrimental to their entire livelihood.

The fact that they will lose their job, and probably their credibility, is enough to keep most sports players from even trying. But in 1989, Peter Edward Rose, an MLB player, and later manager to the Cincinnati Reds was accused of placing bets on the game. Although he denies the allegations, enough evidence was discovered to permanently ban Rose from any job involving the sport. This evidence included several interviews with Rose’s associations, many of which included illegal bookies.

The findings of the investigation were labeled as officially “inconclusive” but many suspect that Rose took the permanent ban willingly in order to save face for what would surely be a conviction in court. He maintains his innocence to this day.


In conclusion, it is highly illegal for an athlete to bet on themselves, but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. And with the world of the internet, it is likely that it does happen, and that people just don’t realize it. Either way, gambling on yourself as a professional athlete carries steep retributions, so it’s probably better to just focus on what is going on during the game rather than figuring out how to bet a game illegally.

Sportsbook | Sportsbet | Baseball | Soccer | Football | Professional athlete | Betting on sports | Hockey | Mlb | Nhl | Nba

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