Massachusetts sports betting is just a few short weeks away from being legal. However, when the industry finally launches, residents won’t be able to wager on in-state college teams in traditional exhibition matchups. The exemption was a requirement for the state senate to pass the bill back in August 2022.
Fortunately for those who care to wager on colleges in the state, the rule does carve out an exception to allow betting on in-state teams playing in a tournament of four or more teams. These events include March Madness, the College Football Playoff, and the College World Series.
Why Ban In-State Sports Betting?
The argument made by lobbyists is that betting on in-state college teams compromised the safety and integrity of the athletes and the schools. Whether or not it’s a genuine concern in this day and age is unknown, but Boston does have a well-known college sports scandal of its own for reference. It’s the focal point of Goodfellas – one of the most famous mob movies of all time.
Massachusetts isn’t alone in the decision to ban betting on in state college teams. New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Illinois, Washington, and other states have the same exemption. Massachusetts’ generous carve-out separates the state from others with similar laws on the books, which they hope accommodates all parties.
“I think any state that prohibits in-state college wagering might look toward Massachusetts law because of the unique way we carve out colleges in the state,” Senator Patrick O’Connor said. “I think that carveout makes a lot of sense and other states should look toward that.”
The rule may still rub some residents the wrong way, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on what the other states bring in annually. Additionally, considering how many events are classified as tournaments in the NCAA, residents will have multiple opportunities to wager on their favorite in-state college teams.
When you think of NCAA tournaments, there is a good chance the first things that come to mind are the NCAA Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, and the College Football Playoff (CFP). You are right, but there are more than just the big two that you may not have known are tournaments. The examples below are just a few, and Massachusetts-based teams have competed in them, including this year.
- College Basketball Invitational Tournament (CBI)
- National Invitational Tournament (NIT)
- Conference Tournaments (Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, ACC)
- Asheville Championship
- U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
- Maui Invitational Battle 4 Atlantis
The tournaments above are all basketball related, but there are also tournaments for hockey, soccer, baseball, and more. So, while there may be some restrictions in place, Massachusetts sports fans will still have options to bet on in-state college teams in the future.
Massachusetts College Sports Participation in Tournaments
Massachusetts has multiple Division-I sports programs in the state. Most notably:
- Harvard University
- Boston College
- University of Massachusetts
- Boston University
- Northeastern University
All of these teams are eligible to participate in all tournaments listed above, with the exception of out of conference championship tournaments. Most fans would prefer the CFP and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but the additional options provide an outlet until that dream becomes a reality.
Looking to wager once sports betting officially launches in Massachusetts? Get ready by checking out some of the expected launch promos and bonuses the major sportsbooks are offering.