Mass. Gaming Commission Moves Forward but Sets No Sports Betting Start Date

Mass. Gaming Commission Moves Forward but Sets No Sports Betting Start Date
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The latest public meeting to advance the process of legalizing Massachusetts sport betting was held Thursday.

The meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) came just hours before the NFL season opener between the Buffalo Bills and defending champion Los Angeles Rams.

After a lengthy, seven-hour meeting going through an extensive 155-page document, several issues were discussed, addressed and approved, but a definitive timeline to start sports wagering in the Bay State was not set.

The complete approval and regulatory process for statewide retail and mobile betting is expected to take anywhere between three to six months, with up to 225 new rules and regulations to be enacted.

The hope is that something can get done by the end of this year. If not then, the aim would be before the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 12, 2023.

The state legislature agreed to pass a sports betting bill back on Aug. 1.

Keeping Impact on Lottery Front and Center

After opening remarks from Chairman Cathy Judd-Stein, Deborah Goldberg, the state’s treasurer and receiver general, opened the meeting seeking a MGC rule requiring sports betting licensees to “present a plan that can mitigate impacts on the Massachusetts Lottery, and in addition, that licensees partner with the Lottery on cross-promotion, both in-person and online.”

The aim, according to Goldberg, is for the collaborationto benefit both parties as the process moves forward.

Onward to MGC preparations, a motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-1 that certifies and approves emergency regulations to approve independent laboratory certification. The initial step expedites the process to completing necessary regulatory stipulations to launch.

It also allows the labs to inspect and test gaming devices (such as self-service kiosks, teller machines, etc.), which is a huge component to getting the necessary technology in place.

House rules was next on the agenda. After a brief introduction, discussion and a break in the meeting, it was determined by the MGC it would be continued to be explored during the commission’s next meeting Sept. 15 at 9:30 a.m.

Temporary licenses will also be discussed during that meeting.

State Betting Budget Approved

The MGC also approved a $2.1 million dollar sports wagering budget by a vote of 5-0, which includes 12 FTEs (Full-Time Employees), six contract investigators and other consultants.

The commission also will begin to draft regulations regarding the criteria for sports wagering license applications/selection, along with the approval for use of sports wagering systems.

With casino gambling already within the Commonwealth, up next was an update by Mark Vander Linden, director for research and responsible gaming.

Also, two studieswill be conducted examining the feasibility of allowing retail locations to operate sports wagering self-service kiosks and the participation of business enterprises led by minorities, women and veterans in the sports wagering industry within the state.

Judd-Stein ended the meeting, announcing a responsible gaming roundtable on Sept. 13. A mobile sports operator roundtable will be later this month, but no specific date was announced.

The Impact for Massachusetts

Sportsbook operators see a state with loyal sports fans and expect it to be a fertile area when Massachusetts sports apps are up and running.

The state estimates that sports betting will generate approximately $60 million in annual revenue, generated first by a licensing fee of $5 million for five years and additionally by a 15% tax on retail wagering and a 20% tax on mobile wagering.

A recent sports betting survey by BetMassachusetts.com found that, when plans are in place and operational, 37% of the state’s sports bettors said they would bet at least weekly and another 2 in 5 (38%) anticipate betting once a month to multiple times a year.

Four of the five states that border Massachusetts – New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York – have live and legal online sports betting. Once everything gets up and running in MA, BetMassachusetts will be your go-to source for the best Massachusetts sportsbook 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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