Massachusetts Gaming Commission Approves Betting on NBA Draft Lottery

Written By Dan Holmes on May 5, 2023
NBA Draft Lottery Betting coming to Massachusetts

For Massachusetts residents feeling lucky about the luck of downtrodden pro hoops teams, NBA Draft Lottery betting is here.

Betting on the results for the May 16 was approved Thursday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission after a lengthy private and public debate via a public meeting conducted virtually.

The MGC voted 4-0 for wagering on the annual NBA Draft Lottery. Similar to its decision to permit wagering on the NFL Draft, the commission established regulations on how bets can be placed on the outcome of the NBA Draft Lottery, narrowing the scope to prohibit betting after the start of the lottery broadcast.

On April 26, DraftKings requested clarification on whether the NBA Draft Lottery was in the Sports Wagering Catalog in the commonwealth. As a result of the vote, DraftKings and all licensed sports betting apps in Massachusetts may accept wagers on the event.

NBA Draft Lottery coming May 16

In the NBA Draft Lottery, which will take place May 16 live on ESPN and, the 16 teams that missed the playoffs will have a chance to win one of the top four selections in the annual amateur draft. The NBA teams with the worst record in the recently completed regular season have a 14% chance of winning the No. 1 pick.

Only the top-four spots are determined by the lottery. The remainder are slotted in order of record, worst to best.

The ruling allows wagering on which teams will receive the top four spots, one through four. Sportsbook may only allow wagering on those four spots. The NBA sets the rules of the draft lottery.

NBA Draft Lottery betting is allowed and offered in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Wyoming, West Virginia and Ontario.

The MGC stated that the draft eligibility for wagering is covered under current laws and that wagering on the event is recommended.

“The division believes [the process is safe] as it was explained: they seal the envelopes, and the integrity is fine, and [it] would be fine to offer this. We [recommend] DraftKings stop betting once the envelopes leave that room,” said Sterling Carpenter, Sports Wagering Operations Manager for the MGC.

As a playoff team, the Boston Celtics will not be part of the NBA Draft lottery process.

The NBA Draft is on June 22. The commission also allowed betting on last month’s NFL Draft.

Commission hears Encore Boston, gambling safety presentations

In other news, commissioners heard two presentations on Thursday.

The first was from Mark Vander Linden, Director of Research for the MGC, on Assessing the Influence of Gambling on Public Safety in Massachusetts Cities and Towns During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  The other was “Analysis of the Influence of Encore Boston Harbor on its Surrounding Community, by Dr. Noah Fritz, of Justice Research Associates.

The MGC met in an executive session for nearly an hour to “discuss strategy with respect to FBT Everett Realty, LLC v. Massachusetts Gaming Commission, a legal matter regarding the development of a casino expansion in Everett.”

The MGC will next meet at 10 a.m. on Monday. Agenda items include a review of a request for six events from US Integrity.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo / Associated Press
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Staff Writer for PlayMA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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