Massachusetts residents won’t be able to place futures bets on in-state colleges who haven’t yet qualified for the NCAA Tournament or on any college athletes for end-of-season awards such as the Heisman Trophy and Wooden Award.
Those conclusions were reached during Tuesday’s meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Commissioners discussed frequently asked questions the MGC has received so far regarding college sports betting. Here’s what was said about each question, and the answer the MGC provided for each.
Can I Place a Futures Bet on a MA College That Hasn’t Yet Qualified for the NCAA Tournament?
This means that Massachusetts residents can’t place a futures bet on Boston College winning March Madness, for instance, until the Eagles actually clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
So if Boston College wins the ACC Tournament, sportsbooks could begin offering March Madness futures odds for BC. And if Boston College hears its name called on Selection Sunday, sportsbooks could immediately post those odds. But they couldn’t list odds any time before either of those situations.
“They have to be presently involved in (the tournament), not hypothetically involved in the future,” said Caitlin Monahan, deputy general counsel to the MGC, when explaining her interpretation of the law.
But if the college is automatically qualified for the postseason tournament — such as the ACC Tournament — residents can place futures wagers. So, yes, you could bet on Boston College winning the ACC Tournament if a sportsbook offered those odds.
Can I Bet on Individual Postseason Awards?
This question sparked the most discussion. But, in the end, the MGC opted to lean conservative and block any wagers on individual college athletics awards, such as the Heisman Trophy and Wooden Award, to protect the athletes from any undue pressures or influences.
Commissioners did so due to language in the sports betting bill that bans wagering activity on any collegiate “athletic event.” The MGC decided to view the whole season in the scope of an athletic event. So, in addition to barring player prop bets in college sports, Massachusetts also won’t allow futures bets on end-of-season awards.
Commissioner Jordan Maynard felt the MGC was being too conservative. He said the nature of end-of-season awards — votes from hundreds of sports writers from across the country — contrasts it with betting on individual outcomes in a game.
“I think I may be the lone dissenter here on this one, but that’s OK,” Maynard said.
Can I Place a Bet That Depends on Regular Season Results?
Yes and no.
An example of this would be betting on a team to finish atop the conference standings to win the regular season title.
Massachusetts residents cannot bet on a Massachusetts college to do that. But they can bet on a team from any other state.
For example: A gambler couldn’t bet on Boston College to win the ACC regular season title. But they could bet on Duke.
Can I Place a Bet on a Tournament That’s Played in Massachusetts?
The restrictions involving college sports betting in Massachusetts have nothing to do with location. They are limitations on what you can wager involving Massachusetts college teams and athletes.