Betting and Gambling

Students are advised that many gambling activities are illegal under Massachusetts law. The state may bring a criminal action requiring that the winner of a bet forfeit double the value of the winnings, and anyone who loses money “at cards, dice or other game” may recover the losses from the winner through civil action. Bookmaking is illegal: there are severe penalties, up to a fine of $3,000 and three years in prison, for keeping, occupying, or being found in any place used “for registering bets, or buying or selling [betting] pools, upon the result of a trial contest of skill, speed, or endurance of man, beast, bird, or machine, or upon the result of a game, competition, political nomination, appointment or election.” Use of the telephone or mail for gambling activities is also illegal. Provisions of federal law also govern organized gambling activities. The Cambridge License Commission dictates that under no circumstances are casino nights, Las Vegas nights, or any other type of gambling allowed in the City of Cambridge.

Under NCAA Bylaws, a student athlete who is involved in betting or gambling activities relating to intercollegiate athletics risks loss of eligibility. Students participating in intercollegiate athletics are expected to be familiar with the Harvard University Student-Athlete Handbook, which is distributed by the Department of Athletics.