Massachusetts regulator denies DraftKings’ proposal to allow betting on Boston Marathon due to time constraints

Massachusetts gambling regulators denied on Thursday a request by DraftKings to allow legal betting on this year’s Boston Marathon, citing concerns by the race’s organizers.

All four members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted against the request, with the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) expressing concerns over the lack of time to coordinate and ensure proper protocols are in place. The BAA also cited concerns over event security and potential influence on the outcome of the race.

Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein shared an email she received Wednesday from the BAA, which runs the marathon.

“At this moment, there is not sufficient time for the Boston Athletic Association, nor its many partners and agencies, to coordinate and fully ensure proper protocols are in place to support such a proposal for wagering on our event,” said Scott Stover, Chief Marketing Officer for the BAA, as reported by the Associated Press.

“Until we can complete due diligence, our concerns include, but are not limited to, ensuring event security and potential influence on the outcome of the race,” Stover added.

The commissioners also discussed the proximity of the marathon, scheduled for April 17, and what they saw as DraftKings’ lack of communication with the BAA.

“I’m going to respect this local organization’s request to be included in the process that could potentially ever allow wagering on their event, and for that reason, I also respect that they don’t think they can work out any issues in 12 days, and that seems reasonable,” Commissioner Jordan Maynard said.

Although the Boston Marathon attracts about 30,000 runners, the DraftKings proposal would have allowed bets to be placed only on the elite women’s and men’s runners. “We respect the decision made by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and look forward to our continued work with them,” DraftKings said in a statement.

The BAA, in a statement, did not directly address the commission’s decision. “With 11 days to go until the 127th Boston Marathon, our focus remains on creating the best event experience for our participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members,” the statement said. 

Last month, Massachusetts launched online sports betting, allowing online sports wagering on pro sports and some college sports. The online rollout came a little over a month after in-person wagering started at the state’s three land-based casinos on January 31; and seven months after the practice was legalized when then-governor Charlie Baker signed the Sports Wagering Act into law on August 10, 2022.