Super Bowl Prop Bets in Massachusetts Clarified by Regulator
Bettors in Massachusetts will not be able to place novelty wagers on the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII on February 11.
That includes bets on the coin toss, the color of the Gatorade that is traditionally poured on the winning coach, the National Anthem length, and any bets on halftime shows or things related to Taylor Swift.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) met this Wednesday, February 7, and last Wednesday, January 31, to clarify the rules.
The second meeting was partly in response to sportsbook FanDuel, who requested extra clarification on coin toss related prop bets.
Although some commission members were in favor, the prevailing opinion was that legalizing coin toss bets for the Super Bowl would also have implications for full-season NFL and college football betting going forward. That’s a potential outcome most regulators weren’t willing to deal with, at least for this year.
When the Kansas City Chiefs take the field against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Las Vegas, it will be the first Super Bowl with legal online sports betting in Massachusetts. The 2023 Super Bowl was available for betting at Bay State retail sportsbooks, but online ‘books did not launch until March 10.
Related: The best Super Bowl Pass Catcher Prop Bets
No Formal Petition from Operators
The MGC’s voted opposition to these kind of bets was not blanket. Some were in favor of certain prop wagers, such as the coin toss. But almost all commissioners agreed that the requests from operators were too soon before the big game.
“The failure to put it on with enough warning, as the event is happening this weekend and they got clarification from us less than 48 hours before the meeting. I don’t think that our authority means we skip our own process,” said Commissioner Eileen O’Brien, speaking at Wednesday’s meeting.
By process, O’Brien is referring to an official application for a new betting market from operators. This gives the commission time to adequately consider wager types and their implication for the market, such as coin toss football bets.
O’Brien also outlined the kind of discussions the MGC might have around these kind of bets.
“This particular request focuses on the Super Bowl. But if the idea is that a coin toss and all these bets about the coin toss is inherently part of a prop bet, where does it stop? This is a special coin. How is it minted? How is it calibrated? Does anybody really know it isn’t something that’s not subject to cheating?” she said.
Football coin toss bets in Massachusetts may be seen at next year’s Super Bowl, as FanDuel and the MGC agreed they would come back to the possibility.
The MGC was dead set against other novelty prop bets,, though. One, for example, the length of the National Anthem. It said that was absolutely subject to information leaks. Others, such as the Gatorade color, may be more randomized – but it’s hard to be sure.
The MGC is known as one of the more heavy-handed regulators in U.S. sports betting. But a lot of states have followed similar lines on this issue.
Only two state markets, Illinois and Maryland sports betting, are set to offer bettors the chance to wager on National Anthem length at the Super Bowl.
Gatorade color bets are available for those sports betting in Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
Bettors looking to place any wagers on Taylor Swift’s appearance at the game will be disappointed. Despite the potential market for it, given her All-American superstar relationship with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, not a single legal U.S. market has allowed outside-of-game betting on the event.