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Big Legal Sportsbooks Passing on 2023 Boston Marathon Betting

Big Legal Sportsbooks Passing on 2023 Boston Marathon Betting article feature image

Via Erica Denhoff/Getty Images. Pictured: “We Are One Boston” is displayed above the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2023 on Boylston Street, in Boston, MA.

Rarely has a state gaming commission approved of an event to be offered while sportsbooks decided to stay away from it.

However, that seems to be the case with Monday’s Boston Marathon.

New Jersey, Colorado and Pennsylvania are allowing sportsbooks to accept bets on the race, but DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers and PointsBet are all staying away.


One of the reasons is because the Boston Athletic Association, which runs the marathon, isn’t supporting the betting markets.

“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,” wrote Scott Stover, the BAA’s chief marketing officer in an email to the commission to WBUR.

If sportsbooks went all in, compromising the game wouldn’t be hard, especially given that first place prize money is only $150,000 and purposely losing isn’t hard to do in a marathon.

DraftKings seemed to be most interested, requesting in its home state of Massachusetts to allow top 20 men’s and women’s runners and total time bets on the men’s and women’s winning time. However, gaming commissioner Brad Hill said that betting on racing in the state was “not ready for primetime.” Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said this year being the 10-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing made their late request untenable.

So why aren’t other books in other states giving it a test run?

One running agent suggested to the Action Network that it’s not exactly the best field to do this with.

“You have a heavy favorite, and if you are going to take any kind of money, there’s a decent amount of exposure on the underdogs. Odds are more reliable on track running; there’s more form, more consistency. The marathon is fundamentally so unreliable.”

At offshore books, marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge is a -200 favorite; the next closest runners in odds, Benson Kipruto and Evans Chebet, are at +1000.

Kipchoge has won marathon titles in Berlin, London, Tokyo and Chicago and has only not finished first twice in his marathon career.

Running hasn’t quite been adopted as a bettable sport, but betting could be the key to increasing the popularity of track and field events. The elite level Diamond League recently cut the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races because of their length and lack of marketability. At track meets in Zurich, they frequently take action inside the stadium.

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