Is It Legal to Bet on High School Sports?

Highschool Sports Betting Legality

Is it legal to bet on high school sports? As many of you know, the 2018 decision by the United States Supreme Court has paved the way for legalized sports betting across the United States.

The court specifically nulled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, deeming it unconstitutional. Does this mean that it will become legal to bet on high school sports?

Keep reading this page to learn about high school sports betting and the legality of wagering on them at online sportsbooks.

Watching Las Vegas

Nevada, more specifically, Las Vegas, has always set the bar for how sports betting markets look. The state has a long history of making its laws fair to the casinos and gamblers, while also protecting amateur athletes.

The state didn’t allow any bets on college games until 2001.

Obviously, it was an effort to protect student-athletes and shield any potential point-shaving or the like.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Nevada changed the laws to allow sportsbooks to participate in the Olympics. This decision made many gamblers snap their heads, thinking maybe the door was opening.

However, the laws, as they are written today, are unambiguous.

For Example:
Nevada’s gaming laws state that no bets may be accepted by any book on amateur sporting competitions other than Olympic events and collegiate contests or events. This clearly and intentionally excludes high school competitions in its rhetoric.

Nevada isn’t alone. New Jersey has introduced similar restrictions on amateur events that expressly remove high school sports from the equation. Illinois has followed the lead of the heavy hitters and banned it altogether.

There are currently 25 states in the US with some form of sports betting legislation on their docket. If all 25 states were to legalize sports betting, the number of states with legal sports betting would soar to 40.

Please Note:
Even with 80% of the nation enjoying legal sports betting, it’s a long shot that the sportsbooks will be offering high school sports.

Even if the option were on the table, it could be a dicey proposition at best.

Friday Night Lights

High School football is of tremendous significance in Texas. The sport and culture of intensity have been transformed into movies like Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights. The latter even became a primetime network TV show.

The passion surrounding Texas high school football is genuine. Drive through any Texas town on a Friday night, and you’ll surely see the glow of stadium lights.

The game brings the entire community out for the action, and the smaller the towns, the more passionate they are about the game. Texans love high school football so much that some of the more prominent schools have stadiums and practice facilities that would leave college programs green with envy.

So, it may not surprise you to learn that many offshore sportsbooks take action on Texas high school football games.

Obviously, this isn’t a model that Nevada or any other state will follow.

Opening the doors to legal betting on high school sports is not likely to occur in the United States.

The stakes are too high, and I’m not referring to the money. The athletic boards that run these programs have a duty to protect the young men and women competing and their communities as a whole.

We’ve seen corruption infiltrate professional and collegiate sports on more than one occasion. I can’t help but think the malfeasance level would quickly poison the very fabric of high school athletics.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to regulate the offshore sportsbooks. However, I hope my readers have the character to see the fundamental problems presented with betting on high school football, or any other high school event for that matter.

Prep Sports

Over the last decade, prep sports have become immensely popular in the United States, specifically, the AAU or Amateur Athletic Union. The AAU provides competition for over 40 different sports across the country. Number one among them by far is basketball.

AAU basketball has become a platform for the top college recruits and the NBA stars of tomorrow.

Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul are just a few of the AAU alumni you may recognize. The list goes on for miles.

So, with so much high-powered talent on the hardwood, many have made a case to have the high school athletes competing made available for wagers.

That undermines the very nature of the program and what it aims to accomplish for these young players.

AAU aims to not only produce the superstars of tomorrow but leaders as well.

Not everybody makes the cut as a professional athlete, and AAU seems to put a primary focus on leadership, social skills, and growing as an individual.

Certainly, nobody on the AAU board of directors is pressing Nevada or New Jersey to allow gambling into the fray.

Please Note:
Despite claims of athletes being pushed in the direction of individual universities or signing deals with specific apparel companies, the AAU appears to point its athletes in the proper direction.

While pointing a young hoop star towards a specific college is undoubtedly frowned upon and definitely gets a look from the NCAA, it’s a far cry from legalized gambling on high school sports.

The Future of Betting on High School Sports Prep Sports

It’s hard to imagine a point in the next five years where making it legal to bet on high school sports gains any momentum.

We are only two years removed from the Supreme Court’s decision on PASPA. Most states have yet to legalize any form of sports betting. I find it extremely unlikely that any of the 15 states that have legalized sports betting to take on high school sports.

It’s far less likely that any of the remaining states will see legislation to open the floodgates on all sports betting, including high school athletics.

People will undoubtedly argue that many of the participants in prestigious high school tournaments or state championship games are only months away from taking the field or court as collegiate athletes.

My stance is and will remain that a few months isn’t long to wait at all, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy betting on their collegiate games. High school sports are off the books, in my opinion. Luckily, I’m not alone.

The Kids

I call them kids not out of disrespect but because many of them are, in fact, kids. It’s essential not to lose sight of that.

The pressure put on the young athletes competing is immense. I vaguely remember the challenges of juggling academics, a social life, family time, and athletics in high school. I had many sleepless nights studying for an exam ahead of a game, and it showed in my performance.

I played football, basketball, golf, was on the track team, and played baseball. I was above average at most but excelled in baseball. As a junior, I recall crying to my dad over a throw. I sailed over our first baseman’s head from behind the home plate, attempting to pick off a runner. I knew there were scouts in the bleachers, and I thought I had relegated myself to community college.

My dad quickly pointed out that I went 5 for 5 with 4 extra-base hits and 2 stolen bases. The scouts noticed the throw deep into the right-field but probably weren’t too concerned, given the other lines.

I paint that picture because the stakes rise dramatically when athletes know people have money on the line. I was fortunate to have my dad around to present some clarity on the situation.


Is it legal to bet on high school sports? No, high school sports are off-limits for the most part. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a few options.

Let’s say that you went to rival high schools with your best friend. I’m not suggesting a friendly bet between the two of you is off the books, or that you should be tarred and feathered.

In fact, you can go right ahead if you wish.

However, you and I both know that legal bets on high school sports would open Pandora’s box.

Let the kids be kids, if only for a few more months. What is your opinion on the subject? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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