Clarity On Retail MA Sports Betting Launch Timeframe Could Come Thursday

Written By Mike Mazzeo on September 15, 2022
MA sports betting

Retail books ready to do legal MA sports betting business could get some much-desired clarity this week. 

The MA Gaming Commission will have a meeting Thursday to discuss temporary licenses. 

Those temporary licenses would enable MA brick and mortar casinos Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBet), MGM Springfield (BetMGM) and Plainridge Park (Penn National/Barstool Sports) to take legal bets. Racetracks Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park would also be able to accept legal wagers. 

Will MA bettors finally get a timetable on launch?

There is still no exact date for brick-and-mortar or online Massachusetts sports betting to launch.

That leaves MA bettors to seek other options such as neighboring states, local bookies and unregulated offshore operators with NFL betting season underway. 

Meeting details on temporary MA sports betting licenses

According to the agenda, the meeting will discuss requirements for temporary licensure. In addition, the MGC will address the potential impacts of temporary licensure on both online sports betting operators and the public, as it pertains to consumer protections. 

There will also be a discussion centered on whether to do a simultaneous or staggered launch. The temporary licensure portion of the meeting will conclude with a discussion based on the process for full operator licensure, including the competitive process. 

Retail betting conceivably could launch before online wagering, as casinos already are building out spaces for physical sportsbooks. Whether to allow an earlier retail launch is up to commissioners, though.

MA Gaming Commission continues to preach patience

The MGC has been steadfast in its stance that the sports betting licensure process will be deliberate. Last week, commissioner Bradford Hill expressed frustration with inaccurate launch speculation on local sports radio.

Time will tell if temporary licenses that would enable legal sports betting in MA before the end of the 2022 NFL season will be granted.  

There are 15 online sports betting licenses available in MA, with seven being decided via the competitive bidding process. A total of 42 entities expressed interest in being licensed in the state. 

Responsible MA sports betting roundtable held Tuesday

On Tuesday, the commission met virtually with several responsible gaming experts for a roundtable panel discussion. 

Topics discussed included: 

  • Voluntary self-exclusion (potentially changing name to Play Break)
  • Responsible gaming and budgetary tools (PlayMyWay, Gamban)
  • Age restrictions 
  • Marketing and advertising (concerns on its impact on youth)
  • Concerns about in-play betting and helping players set wager limits during games 
  • Rewarding operators with promotional play tax deductions for encouraging players to wager responsibly 
Mike Mazzeo Avatar
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a reporter for Legal Sports Report, arriving after covering several of New York’s professional sports teams in a variety of roles for the past decade. Previously, he served as a beat writer and columnist covering the Brooklyn Nets (ESPN) and New York Yankees (New York Daily News). Mike also covered both the MLB and NBA nationally for Yahoo Sports. In addition, he served as a general assignment reporter for ESPNNewYork.com. He has also had bylines in the New York Times, New York Post, Newsday, Forbes and The Ringer.

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