Residents of the Commonwealth should be able to participate in legal online MA sports betting right before the start of March Madness.
At a Thursday meeting, Massachusetts Gaming Commission executive director Karen Wells recommended a March 10 start date at 10 a.m. for the launch of online Massachusetts sports betting.
March Madness begins on March 14, meaning Massachusetts would launch four days prior.
What MA sportsbooks will be available
There are expected to be 11 online sportsbooks in the Commonwealth:
- Bally Bet
Only Betway has said it will not start on time.
Next steps in the process
Temporary license approval for MA online sportsbooks is slated for Feb. 23.
Sportsbooks will also need to go through testing on their tech.
Wells added that the operators will need to address any outstanding tech and testing issues in a timely manner to avoid delays.
MA sports betting framework
MA online sportsbooks will pay a 20% tax rate.
State lawmakers have projected $60 million in annual state revenue from legalized sports betting.
Massachusetts launched in-person sports betting at the three in-state casinos on Jan. 31.
Advertising regs on the docket
The commission later Thursday is slated to finalize regulations governing advertising.
MA will feature some of the toughest advertising regs in the US. As proposed, they include prohibiting advertising featuring the following:
- Imply or promote sports wagering as free of risk in general or in connection with a particular promotion or sports wagering offer.
- Describe sports wagering as “free”, “cost free” or “free of risk” if the player needs to incur any loss or risk their own money to use or withdraw winnings from the wager.
MA sports betting casino violations
The commission learned more specifics regarding the in-person sports betting catalog compliance issues at a pair of casinos.
Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor both took wagers on in-state college basketball teams. Massachusetts has an in-state college team betting ban, unless they are involved in a tournament featuring more than four teams.
The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau said Plainridge Park allowed bets on a Merrimack men’s college basketball game for seven hours. Meanwhile, Encore permitted wagers on a Boston College women’s college basketball game for five hours.
Both casinos self-reported their violations. IEB will submit a full report to the MGC following the completion of its investigation.