Two beloved Boston heroes came back home for a reason familiar to both of them.
Stars who both won championships here - former Boston Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon and former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman - were at Encore Boston Harbor Casino (WynnBET) in Everett Tuesday to take part in the historic launch of retail Massachusetts sportsbooks.
Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Massachusetts Sportsbook) and MGM Springfield (BetMGM) also launched on Tuesday.
Damon Down with Eagles in Super Bowl
In the morning event, Damon placed $1,818 on the Philadelphia Eagles to cover the 2-point spread in next Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Although I’m really good friends with Pat Mahomes Sr. and me being born in Kansas City, I’m taking the Eagles,” a smiling Damon said, when asked where was his loyalty. “There is no loyalty when you’re betting.”
In 2004, Damon helped the Red Sox in a historic comeback against the New York Yankees with two home runs, highlighted by a grand slam, on the road in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Damon also hit a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals to claim the city’s first World Series title since 1918.
“I love Boston,” Damon said. “I’ll say it again, I never wanted to leave, but, unfortunately, when you have other options, you have to do it. I’ve had great seasons here and I’m glad it worked out for everyone.
“The way I played the game and what I brought to this team — we aren’t losers anymore. We changed the culture here in Boston. We need to always think about that. Always bring your A game every single season.
“That’s what we want the Red Sox to do this year. Let’s get back to the postseason. Great things happen when the Red Sox make the postseason and we just need them to step up a little bit.”
Edelman Bets Celtics, Praises Bruins
During the evening event, Edelman made a grand entrance into the WynnBET Massachusetts Sportsbook with a load of cash in a silver attaché case handcuffed to his wrist.
“I put $11,000 on the Boston Celtics (+360) to win the NBA Championship. Let’s go Celts! C’mon, let’s go!” an exuberant Edelman said to a throng of Boston sports media after the bet was placed.
A reporter then asked: “Why not the Bruins?”
“It’s too easy,” Edelman said. “They are probably going to take it (Stanley Cup). They are the best team in the NHL right now.”
Edelman would not commit to a Super Bowl selection.
“I’m a pro gambler right now,’ he said. “It’s too early, but it’s going to be a hell of a matchup.”
Edelman, who played 12 seasons for the Patriots and who has been known to attend a Kentucky Derby now and then, was a three-time Super Bowl champion. He claimed Most Valuable Player honors in a 13-3 Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams in 2018. In that game, he had 10 receptions for 141 yards.
With sports betting now in the Commonwealth, which betting method does Edelman prefer: at a sportsbook or on an app?
(Of note, the state is expected to launch Massachusetts sports betting apps in mid-March, before the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament starts.)
“I like the app. It’s a little more comfortable,” Edelman said. “It’s cool to be here and get in the environment, but when you have accessibility on your phone, you can just get a hunch and put it in. This place is electric right now. It’s exciting to be back here in Boston and be a part of it.”
It looks like the Bay State will be seeing a lot more of their two hometown heroes now that sports betting is here to stay.
Also not going away is BetMassachusetts.com, your main spot for Massachusetts betting promos.
Be sure to check back here for all the latest insight on in-state promotional offers, including our breakdown of the BetMGM Massachusetts bonus code.