Boutte is accused of making over 8,900 bets in his native Louisiana between April 2022 and May 2023 while under age.
The Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, which made the arrest, said Boutte was 20 years old when placing the bets. The minimum legal age to bet on sports in Louisiana is 21.
Boutte is said to have used an alias to circumvent legal age requirements. At the time, he was playing American football for Louisiana State University (LSU).
Of the nearly-9,000 wagers, at least 17 were on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football games. These included at least six related to LSU football events.
Boutte charged with computer fraud and underage gambling
Police launched an investigation into the matter last July and secured an arrest warrant on 18 January. Boutte was arrested last week on one count of computer fraud and another of underage gambling.
Local media reports that he has since been released from custody but, with the investigation still ongoing, he could face further charges.
Boutte is in his debut season with the Patriots having joined the team in the 2023 NFL draft. For the current season, he has two receptions, 19 receiving yards with a receiving average of 9.5 yards.
NCAA urges greater betting protection for student-athletes
The charges come after the NCAA in October called for greater protection for student-athletes from gambling harm. The collegiate organisation wants states to update existing laws and regulations to help to preserve the integrity of its competitions.
Almost 40 states have passed laws legalising sports betting since PASPA was repealed in 2018. However, the NCAA says only some contain protection and integrity provisions to help its players.
Now the NCAA is advocating for improved laws and has developed new model legislative provisions it recommends states pass. It has committed to working with lawmakers in states seeking to legalise wagering to ensure provisions feature in legislation.
NFL clamps down on rule-breakers
Boutte has not yet been given a suspension by the NFL for his activities, with these relating to bets placed before he joined the league. However, the NFL has previously suspended players for betting on sports.
Last summer, several players were issued suspensions for breaching league rules on sports betting. Denver Broncos player Eyioma Uwazurike was indefinitely suspended for betting violations in June.
Meanwhile, Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry of the Indianapolis Colts were suspended until at least the end of the 2023 season. Free agent Demetrius Taylor was also banned for the 2023 campaign. All three players were found to have placed wagers on NFL games during the 2022 season.
In addition, Nicholas Petit-Frere of the Tennessee Titans was handed a six-game suspension for betting on non-NFL sports at the club facility.
NFL gambling policy prohibits anyone in the NFL from engaging in gambling in any club or league facility or venue, including the practice facility.