Massachusetts Regulators Reject DraftKings’ Request for Boston Marathon Betting

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
 DraftKings Legal States


  • Regulators met Thursday and ultimately denied the request
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued a catalog of approved betting events when sports betting launched
  • Bettors in other states can wager on the Boston marathon

Massachusetts just launched its sports betting market in late January and has now denied DraftKings sportsbook’s plea to add Boston Marathon betting lines. 

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) refused to grant access for DraftKings to add the 26.2-mile race’s odds under the “special events” category. Betting on the famous test of endurance has never been an option in its host state in the past.

Regulators discussed the idea during a Thursday meeting and ultimately decided that it was not in the state’s best interest to approve the idea.

Adding a new market

DraftKings was granted access to the Massachusetts market during the March 10 launch of online sportsbooks. The retail market went live on January 31 but only with a few operators.

Fittingly, DraftKings is headquartered in Boston, the capital of and most populous city in Massachusetts. The state itself has all sorts of local sporting draws, including the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, and Boston Bruins, among others.

Despite the prevalence of the more popular leagues and teams, the Boston Marathon is one of the most globally-recognizable athletics events. Many of the best long-distance runners in the world make the journey to compete on a difficult yet historic course.

“The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the most famous road racing events,” DraftKings said in its proposal to state regulators.

There was immediate speculation regarding what types of wagers would be available for bettors if the idea was approved. Aside from the obvious market of the winning competitor, suggestions were made that there could be prop-style bets on the fastest mile, the halfway leader, and if any athletes would drop out of the race.

That speculation was short-lived, however, as DraftKings clarified what types of odds it was seeking.

“There are about 70 participants in the professional field for the 2023 marathon,” wrote DraftKings. “DraftKings will only be offering the top 20 men & women professional winners and (over/under) men & women winning time for wagering.”

However, the MGC cut those dreams short with its decision. A spokesperson for DraftKings revealed that betting on the marathon was already approved in Kansas, Oregon and Wyoming, three states where the company offers legal sports betting services—odds for the race have not been posted at the time of writing.

The MGC had the opportunity to meet two more times before the April 17 race day but reached a decision the first day of asking.

Analyzing the field and betting options

DraftKings’ request, albeit a futile one, comes as part of its commitment to being an innovator in the sports betting industry.

“DraftKings is continuously looking to offer our customers a safe and robust menu of betting markets across the biggest events in sports and we are actively working with regulators to bring the Boston Marathon to our sportsbook,” said a company representative.

The MGC created a catalog of approved sports betting events before it launched its sports betting market earlier this year. The Boston Marathon was not one of the events included, which is why it needed approval it did not get from the MGC.

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge is among those in the men’s professional field. He ran a time of 2:01:09 (4:37 average mile pace) at the Berlin Marathon in November 2022. Evans Chebet, one of three male competitors that have won Boston before, and Gabriel Geay, both previously ran 2:03:00. Chebet ran his in 2020 and Geay did it in 2022.

On the women’s side, Amane Beriso has the fastest seed time (2:14:58) by a decent margin. She ran that blistering time in December 2022 at the Valencia marathon, the same event that Geay ran his personal record. Four other women are seeded between 2:17:29-2:17:57, but notably, none of them have won Boston before.

Just like in the men’s race, three women racing in 2023 have won the event before. The fastest of them is Edna Kiplagat, who has a personal best of 2:19:50.

Chebet and Peres Jepchirchir (not entered in 2023) won their respective races in 2022 with times of 2:06:51 and 2:21:02. Winning times are usually a few minutes slower than the athletes’ personal records because of the rolling terrain from mile 17.5-21, known as the Newton Hills.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.