On Monday, April 17th, the 127th Boston Marathon will make history by being the first event of its kind to feature legal sports betting in its home state of Massachusetts. Kenyan Evans Chebet was the winner of the 126th running of the marathon, held on April 18th, 2022, and DraftKings had wished to include betting on the following year’s event as well. However, their request was denied by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).
In-person sportsbooks opened at Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield on January 31st, while online betting was made available the following month. Currently, six licensed mobile sportsbooks are available in the state: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, WynnBet, Barstool Sportsbook, and Caesars Sportsbook.
To no surprise, the Boston-based daily fantasy sports provider DraftKings, located only 1,500 feet east of the Boston Marathon finish line in Boylston Street, proposed to offer betting markets on the top 40 professional runners, not amateurs. Although other states have approved similar betting markets for major marathons, the MGC rejected the request due to time constraints in coordinating the necessary protocols to ensure the integrity of the event. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), organizer of the race, echoed similar concerns.
In addition, the opening of the Plainridge Park’s retail Barstool Sportsbook was delayed from late spring to the summer. The casino is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and Penn Entertainment, who had acquired all of Barstool Sports for $551 million last year.
The 127th Boston Marathon will be the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the most iconic sports events. As the course takes runners from Hopkinton to Copley Square, the 2023 race will be a memorable one, albeit without the inclusion of betting markets.