Massachusetts Sports Betting Regulator Struggling to Find Sports Betting Launch Date
October 11, 2022
It took the Massachusetts state legislature more than four years to pass sports betting legislation after the U.S. Supreme gave states the right to this issue on their own. That took place in August of 2022 when Governor Charlie Baker finally affixed his signature to the sports betting legislation that hit his desk.
Under the terms of the approved legislation, three license categories were established as follows: Type 1c = licensed casinos, Type 2 = racetracks and simulcasting facilities, and Type 3 = mobile sports betting operators. The bill also established that the state’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MAC) would oversee sports betting regulatory responsibilities.
One of the features of the legislature was it granted the MAC authority to authorize as many temporary sports betting licenses as the regulator wants. Temp licenses would only be good for one year, giving the MAC additional time to vet potential permanent licensees. To get a temp license, proposed operators would still need to pay the required license fees.
The one thing the legislation didn’t do was propose a launch date for sports betting in Massachusetts. That was left for the MAC to handle.
What’s the Hold Up?
There is little doubt that Massachusetts residents are eagerly awaiting the chance to legally wager on their favorite sports teams from the comforts of home. Of course, that only pertains to favorite professional teams because betting on in-state amateur teams will not be allowed. So what’s the hold-up?
It turns out that the MAC can’t decide how and when to launch sports betting for the state’s sports betting enthusiasts. There is pressure to get something going by the beginning of next year so bettors
can wager on NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl. It beginning to look like an early January start date might be in jeopardy.
The MAC had a big commission meeting on October 6, 2022. During the meeting, a proposal was brought to light. The proposal focused on staggering the start dates for each type of licensee. Essentially, Type 1 and Type 2 licensees would have a launch date in January of next year with Type 3 (mobile sports betting operators) joining the fray in February.
Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein was clearly not happy with the progress that the commission has made to date. She told reporters: “I am very concerned about the rate of our decision-making. She further stated, “I am very concerned about our ability to move forward.”
Based on what came out of the meeting, the Mac is clearly focused on nothing more than establishing a launch date. The inability to get anything set in stone is causing dissent among commission members who feel this should be treated like a complicated process.
Of course, no one is feeling the effects of this indecisiveness more than Massachusetts sports bettors who have been waiting a lifetime for this wonderful opportunity. The pressure is on to get this done sooner rather than later. Another commission meeting is scheduled for later in October when hopefully a final decision will come to fruition.