Boston Marathon organizers don’t want bets on the race

Boston Marathon runners with cups on the ground
Image: Shutterstock

With online sports betting in Massachusetts well underway, Boston-based DraftKings Sportsbook requested to offer wagers on the Boston Marathon. While DraftKings petitioned the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to offer wagers, the operator apparently did not ask the event host, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), how it would feel about such a thing.

During a Thursday meeting of the MGC, the commissioners discussed the idea and noted that when they asked the BAA about the idea, they expressly said they would be unprepared for such a thing given that, at the time, the race was just 12 days away. In an email to the MGC, the BAA said the following:

“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. 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.”

Accordingly, the MGC voted 4-0 (Commissioner Nakisha Skinner was not present) to add the marathon to the list of prohibited wagers in the state. Commissioner Eileen O’Brien was particularly vocal about her frustration that DraftKings did not reach out to the BAA in advance of making its request.

This year’s Boston Marathon will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, something Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein drew attention to during the deliberations. Each year around 20,000 participants take part in the race.

While the Massachusetts regulators opted not to allow betting odds on the race, that does not mean other states will not consider offering markets on the event.