Skip to Content

Can NBA players bet on NBA Games (and make a killing)?

Bookmakers across the globe strike odds on the biggest and best basketball league in the world, the NBA. Thousands of websites offer predictions on the outcomes of these games as well as the statistics that any gambler would require to make a bet on a match. The more you study the players, the coaches, the squad, the pre-match analysis, and the post-match statistics, the more informed your bet will become as well as your chances of making it a successful bet.

Can NBA players bet on NBA Games? NBA players are not permitted to gamble on games, rig competitions, or tip others to bet. According to the NBA’s constitution, “any person who, directly or indirectly, wagers money or anything of value on the outcome of any game” will face an unappealable punishment from the commissioner, such as “a fine, suspension, expulsion, and/or perpetual disqualification from further association with the NBA.”

Having said that, players are permitted to wager among themselves on non-NBA-related activities like card games, shooting competitions, video games, the NFL, and football matches. While this may be a bonding experience for the team, it can also lead to major conflict especially when large sums of money are involved.

However, this raises an intriguing problem since anonymous betting sites typically do not demand an ID, particularly if the wager is placed in Bitcoin – making it possible for a player to gamble on oneself anonymously. Not only that but there is nothing in place to prevent a player from contacting an illegal bookie, who will make bets regardless of who the person is – as long as they receive compensation for placing the bet. Although regulated sportsbooks may restrict athletes from betting on their sport, there is nothing to stop a player from betting on himself online or with an illicit bookmaker.

Booray – A Game of Cards

Card games are by far the most prevalent form of gambling among NBA teammates. The most popular card game in the NBA is Booray (and in professional sports as a whole). If an NBA team is on a flight to an away match during the season, there’s a good chance that some of their teammates are playing Booray.

The Action Network reported that when the Celtics had their massive trio of NBA players in the form of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, they would bet massive amounts of money on one hand. It would not be unusual for participants in the game to lose thousands of dollars on a single trip.

Booray  – Losses Significant 

They continued that one player purportedly came onto the flight with a plastic bag that contained a quarter-million dollars, and he lost it all. He not only lost all of his money, but the other players also awarded him credit, which he also lost. He had to bring even more money on our next road trip to pay all the players he had lost to.

One NBA player lost $40,000 throughout the preseason before we even received his first salary payment for the season. He was on a minimum-wage contract. If you’re playing Booray, you’re going to lose big at some time, but those same folks generally win large too. 

While anybody is free to join most teams’ in-flight booray games, it’s usually not a good idea for rookies or minimum players to buy in (which can cost tens of thousands of dollars alone). Unlike some of their older colleagues, they cannot afford to lose such large quantities of money.

Booray – Many Detractors

Booray, in the opinion of one NBA player-manager, claimed it was a “stupid game”. He continued that he was not sure how many people played it, but because of the amount of money involved, it caused a lot of tension not only amongst the players but also the staff. He added that because of the many regional variants, the rules were difficult to understand especially for rookies on the team.  

In booray, it may take you some time to figure out the dealer’s regulations, so you’re already down up to $30,000 by the time you figure it out. Furthermore, the buy-in for a booray game may occasionally reach $40K to $50K. 

Therefore you lose $50,000 right away and want to keep playing to attempt to win it back. It’s similar to any other kind of gambling in that you want to keep playing to recoup your losses. But with that type of buy-in and no particular end-point or exit strategy, you can simply keep losing money. There is no structure, thus you will ultimately lose. It’s a dreadful game.

NBA Betting

Whether you are a rookie, a rising superstar, a seasoned professional, or the backroom staff, according to the rules of the NBA no matter who you are, you are not allowed to bet on NBA games. However, that does not prohibit any of those people to bet on any other sport. 

Amazingly, their bet of choice is a game where the rules are sketchy, the amount of money wagered is massive, and the game can be played on a Team Coach, on an aeroplane, before a game, or after. The name is that game is Booray, and massive amounts of money are won and lost weekly.

There have even been urban myths of motor vehicles being lost, a player’s first month’s salary being lost before the player has even received it, but this strange game is the most popular amongst NFL and NBA players alike. Maybe it’s just a way to release the tension before a big match, because, none of those players are allowed to bet on themselves or their team and the NBA enforces those rules very strictly.