In 12 days, one of our nation's historic sporting events, the 127th annual Boston Marathon, will take place.
The marathon will be run on April 17 (Patriots Day) and will feature close to 30,000 runners from more than 100 nations.
One thing it won't have is legal Massachusetts sports betting.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Thursday rejected by a 4-0 vote. The request came from Boston-based DraftKings Massachusetts to allow wagering on this year's running of the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon and to add it to the state's sports betting catalog.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the governing body of the race, sent a letter to the MGC saying, in large part, “there is not sufficient time” for race organizers to “coordinate and fully ensure proper protocols” would be in place to support betting. The BAA added that it wasn't consulted or alerted by DraftKings that a request was in the offing.
“At this moment, there is not sufficient time for the Boston Athletic Association, not 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 BAA Chief Marketing Officer Scott Stover in his letter to the MGC. “Without time to undergo analysis and proper due diligence, we are concerned about how such an expedited approval would potentially impact the event.”
MGC Members Chastise DraftKings
Commissioner Eileen O'Brien said she was “disappointed” that DraftKings did not consult the BAA ahead of time.
“With any request, my expectation would be an operator would reach out to a governing body, the Boston Marathon in particular, given what it means to the city and particularly this year, 10 years out from the tragedy,” O’Brien said. “I am disappointed . . . the operator did not do that.”
Fellow Commissioner Brad Hill said the proposal was “not ready for prime time” and Commissioner Jordan Maynard cited the race’s deep roots in the Commonwealth before siding with the BAA.
“It underpins a local holiday,” Maynard said during the hearing. “And 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. I also respect that they don’t think they can work out any issues in 12 days, and that seems reasonable it’s not going to happen.”
DraftKings offered a response.
“We respect the decision made by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and look forward to our continued work with them,” a company spokesperson said. “We have been approved to offer wagering on the race in other states but have made the decision not to post odds on the race.”
During today’s hearing, the MGC also decided to table a proposal by Nevada-based U.S. Integrity that asked to allow betting on the following five events: SlapFIGHT Championship, Nitro Rallycross (NRX), Street League Skateboarding, U.S. Pro Minigolf, and Battle Court Jai Alai.
This year’s Boston Marathon marks the 10th anniversary of the 2013 race, during which terrorists detonated two bombs at and near the finish line on Boylston Street, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 people.
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