BOSTON (SHNS) – Legal betting will not be allowed in Massachusetts on this year’s Boston Marathon after a request from DraftKings to take wagers was met with opposition from race organizers and gambling regulators.
DraftKings had asked the Gaming Commission to add the Boston Marathon to the catalog of events approved for wagering in Massachusetts, hoping to take action on the top 20 men and women professional runners as well as over/under bets on the winning times. But in an email to Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein on Wednesday night, after getting a number of media inquiries about the proposal that was first reported Wednesday, an official from the Boston Athletic Association said the organization was not too keen on the idea, particularly since the race is less than two weeks away.
“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. Without time to undergo analysis and proper due diligence, we are concerned about how such an expedited approval would potentially impact the event,” Scott Stover, chief marketing officer at the BAA, wrote in the email. “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 said that the BAA “has not been consulted in this matter” and also had not granted permission for the race’s trademarked name to be used in the DraftKings proposal. The Gaming Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to deny DraftKings’ request.
“There are few greater events than the Boston Marathon and it’s nationally known, but in the commonwealth it’s very local and it underpins a local holiday. 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. Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said that she expects that any operator petitioning to have an event added to the wagering catalog would first reach out to that event’s governing body. “The Boston Marathon, in particular, what it means to this city and in particular on this year, 10 years out from the tragedy, I am disappointed to say the least that a local operator did not in fact do that,” she said.