Sports Betting in Massachusetts Could Get the Green Light for January 2023
November 2, 2022
In recent weeks, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has been struggling to finalize details related to the launch of sports betting in the state. Among the issues they have been struggling with are setting a launch date and determining how to roll out access to Massachusetts sports bettors.
On October 27, the MGC had yet another meeting of members. In the meeting, they finally got around to discussing the issues at hand. Here is a look at what transpired in the meeting.
Addressing the Staggered Start Issue
At an MGC meeting earlier in October, members decided it would be best to roll out sports betting access in two waves. The first wave would include the launching of retail sportsbooks tied to the state’s three casinos. That would be done in conjunction with the roll-out of retail sports betting at the state’s three primary race tracks. As part of this proposal, mention was made that January of 2023 might be a viable launch target date.
The proposal went on to further dictate that online/mobile sports betting would subsequently launch the following, that being February if the retail facilities were to launch in January. As one might expect, these tentative decisions didn’t sit well with leaders from the mobile sports betting community.
During the October 27 meeting, a letter from leading sports betting operator DraftKings was introduced. In the letter, officials from DraftKings expressed that they felt an earlier launch for retail sports betting operators would give said operators an unfair advantage. The letter would go on to state that mobile operators feel that in the spirit of fairness, a universal starting date would make sense.
Note: DraftKings has submitted an application for an online/mobile sports betting operator’s license. At this time, management has no plans to pursue an affiliation with any of the existing retail operators.
The commission’s reply to the letter was predictable. Commission reps made clear that they had already considered the issue from pretty much every perspective. They still feel a staggered launch will best serve sports bettors in Massachusetts.
All Systems Go for January 2023?
At this point, it would seem that the most relevant issues have been resolved. The final date for license application submission is less than two weeks away. Assuming the MGC doesn’t encounter any significant application issues, there is a good chance both retail and mobile sports betting licenses will start rolling out by the early part of December. That would give bookmakers plenty of time to get ready for a January/February launch.
Hence, there is no reason to believe that Massachusetts sports bettors won’t be able to start betting in time for the NFL playoffs. Given the motivation to do so, it’s almost a certainty that access to both retail and mobile sports betting options should be in place by the time the Super Bowl rolls around in the early part of February.
Nothing is set in stone, but it looks like the MGC finally has a plan that Massachusetts sports bettors can use as a planning tool for next year’s sports betting activities.