Launch Date for Mass. Sports Betting Expected in Thursday Vote

Launch Date for Mass. Sports Betting Expected in Thursday Vote
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) will be holding public meeting No. 396 Thursday at 10 a.m.

It figures to be the most important meeting to date as launch dates for both retail and mobile Massachusetts sports betting could come to a vote.

A posted meeting agenda on the MGC website lists No. 8 “Sports Wagering Implementation Timeline Discussion,” headed by MGC Executive Director Karen Wells, will take place toward the latter part of the meeting, with a vote on launch dates for retail and online/mobile, followed by an overview of regulations needed for launch by General Counsel Todd Grossman.

Earlier in the meeting, the MGC has listed an application process for potential operators in the state, a presentation of the state’s sports wagering scoring process by potential applicants and a discussion of simultaneous vs. staggered launch dates.

These discussion points have listed a potential vote after each.

How the State Got Here

The state legislature passed laws to legalize retail and mobile sports in the early hours of Aug. 1. Nine days later, the legislation was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker.

A set of meticulous and multiple hour-long weekly meetings has followed over the past couple of months, discussing a whole host of issues in order to get up and running.

As many as 30 Massachusetts sports betting apps could go live with temporary licenses but some would have to shut down within one year since only 15 permanent licenses eventually will be granted.

Of that 15, eight will be tied to brick-and-mortar casinos, leaving only seven “untethered” licenses.

The discussion, debates and votes on Thursday could lead to a much more detailed, structured picture and timeline on when an individual might be able to place a sports wager on their computer, phone or at an in-person, brick-and-mortar sportsbook location.

Operators Sees Massachusetts as Fertile Ground

Sportsbook operators have made it clear that there are abundant opportunities in a state that is passionate about its sports teams.

In fact, a recent sports betting survey by BetMassachusetts.com revealed that 37% of the state’s sports bettors said they would bet at least weekly and another 38% figured to bet once a month to multiple times a year.

The consensus expectation is that retail sportsbooks would launch first by the end of the year, with mobile sports applications launching before Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 12. That should mean MA bettors will be able to take advantage of DraftKings Massachusetts promos before the big game. 

Cross your fingers! (Arizona already has legalized sports betting.)

Stay tuned to BetMassachusetts.com for developments on the road to mobile sports betting in the state as well as for Massachusetts betting promos.

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Contributors

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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