Before we answer that question, it’s important to remember that sports betting is still not legal in the state of Massachusetts. Even though online betting juggernaut DraftKings is based in Boston. And, if or when that happens, college sports fans might be disappointed.
What We Know
In July, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed Bill H3977. Which would open the door for wagering on professional and college sports (though not on individual prop performances), esports, and video games, either online or at in-person sportsbooks.
However, there’s also Senate Bill S269, which currently resides in the Ways and Means Committee. This does not include college sports wagering, but has been reported to be a bill Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker would likely sign.
Even the casual sports fan knows how much of a moneymaker college sports, such as football and men’s basketball, are for their respective schools. However, the matter of integrity also comes into play. The latter appears to be a major hurdle in terms of college sports wagering seeing the light of day in the Bay State.
Massachusetts is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, like Harvard and Boston University. Those two schools, along with the likes of Boston College and UMass, have vocally voiced their concern regarding the legalization of college sports betting.
Students betting on their own schools, added to the usual pitfalls of potential gambling addiction, is a worry thrown onto the shoulders of administrators. Not to mention, the realistic possibility that a player from an in-state school can wager on his or her own contest, is naturally a fear.
Presidents and athletic directors from eight Massachusetts colleges and universities that offer Division I sports stated that legalizing betting on college athletics would lead to “unnecessary and unacceptable risks to student-athletes, their campus peers and the integrity and culture of colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.”
Quite The Quandary
It’s quite the predicament state leadership finds itself in when it comes to waging on college sports. Though, if any wagering bill passes without college sports in the mix, it would not be completely unprecedented.
In Illinois, for instance, wagers are unable to bet on games featuring Division I state schools like the University of Illinois, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, or DePaul. However, the state could be reconsidering that stance. Which would be music to the ears of sports bettors throughout the Land of Lincoln.
Meanwhile, back in Massachusetts, fans continue to wait, not only for legalized sports wagering to finally find a place in their state, but for college betting to come along for the ride. In the meantime, Massachusetts residents can jaunt over to nearby states such as New Hampshire or Rhode Island to bet on Boston College football this fall or put some action on UMass hoops later in 2021.
But, as Massachusetts Rep Andy Vargas told NBCBoston.com in July: “I represent a district which borders New Hampshire. In Haverhill, you can literally walk across the border into New Hampshire and place a bet. I know that my constituents who partake in sports wagering would rather place these bets in their homes and in their own state.”