Mass. Commission Reveals Target Dates for Retail, Mobile Sports Betting

Mass. Commission Reveals Target Dates for Retail, Mobile Sports Betting
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The rough start dates for the launch of Massachusetts sports betting. were revealed Thursday.

The timeline was discussed at great length Thursday during a public meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). 

The meeting dragged for more than eight hours before the MGC went into recess at 6:09 p.m. Discussions was tabled until Friday at noon.

Retail betting, according to the graphic of a timeline laid out at the meeting, is targeted to begin in January at brick-and-mortar locations, with mobile targeted, very tenuously,  for some time in February. The hope is to have both forms of wagering ready by the Super Bowl, which will be played on Feb. 12.

Karen Wells, executive director of the MGC, labeled the January-February dates as an “aggressive timeline,” adding ‘there is no way to do it earlier.” That makes having Massachusetts sports betting apps before the Super Bowl a possibility, not a certainty. Many details remain to be ironed out.

The debate seemed to be all over the place. The discussion went deep into regulation and the process of the timeline. Any additional steps,  because of something the commission wants to add or change, will cause some delay in the timeline

Nearly all of the regulations also would have to be approved by emergency authorization for any type of February launch to be met, Wells said, with about 35 applicants applying for licensees.

Among other issues discussed, a 15% tax rate was put in on adjusted gross (AG) from in-person wagering and 20% on digital. 

Legislature Passed Sports Betting Laws Aug. 1

Shortly after midnight on Aug. 1, the state legislature passed laws to legalize retail and mobile wagering on sports. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on Aug. 10.

A set of meticulous weekly meetings that often lasted several hours has followed over the past couple of months. The meetings covered a myriad of issues necessary  to get sports betting machinery up and running.

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

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

All temporary licenses must pay an application fee of $1 million.

Massachusetts Seen as Key State Nationally

The consensus in the betting industry is that Massachusetts will be fertile with opportunity for Massachusetts sports apps since fans in the state root wildly for their hometown teams.

A sports betting survey by BetMassachusetts.com found that 37% said they would be at least weekly in the state and another 38% said they would bet once a month to multiple times per year.

BetMassachusetts.com will keep you posted on news on the way to the state’s start of sports betting. The site also is a good destination for MA sports promo codes.

Maybe Friday's meeting will bring a vote and more clarity.

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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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