Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Massachusetts Sports Betting Bill

Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Massachusetts Sports Betting Bill

world series betting xander bogaertsGov. Baker signed the Massachusetts sports betting bill into law
Sports betting is now legal in the Commonwealth
No launch date has been set

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed the Massachusetts sports betting bill into law yesterday, officially ushering sports betting into the Commonwealth.

Baker has been a longtime proponent of sports betting, actually introducing his own sports betting bill last year, and his signature finally cements the legislation.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch Date Unknown

Baker signed the bill a day before the Aug. 11 deadline.

“Our administration first filed legislation to legalize sports wagering in the Commonwealth several years ago, and I am glad to be able to sign this bill into law today. We appreciate the dedication and compromise that the legislature demonstrated on this issue, and we look forward to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the next several months,” Baker said in a statement.

Despite the bill being signed, Massachusetts sports betting is still in the opening minutes of the first quarter of a four quarter game and likely won’t be launching for several months.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has done its best to temper political and public expectations for an expedited sports betting launch.

Regulations, licensure work, and policy hurdles need to be agreed upon before sports betting licenses can be awarded and sports betting can begin, members of the commission said last week.

“I’ve seen some quotes in the newspaper, from the public, and others that they hope to have this thing up and running in a very short time. This is going to take a little longer than people anticipate. I’m ok with that, I want to do it right, but the public needs to understand it’s quite a process we need to go through,” Massachusetts Gaming Commission Commissioner Brad Hill said.

A launch sometime during the upcoming NFL season is not out of the question, but it remains to be seen if that will be in late 2022 or early 2023.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Details

As per the legislation, each casino will be able to offer up to two online sports betting skins, each state racetrack will have access to one, and seven untethered online sports betting operator licenses will be up for grabs.

There are three casinos in the state and all three have partnerships with online operators already:

Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET)
MGM Springfield (BetMGM)
Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Sportsbook)

MGM, Wynn, and Penn National Gaming operate the three casinos in Massachusetts. It’s expected that each of these casinos will apply for, and receive, a sports betting license in the state. It’s unknown if any of the casinos will exercise their second skin option.

So who else will likely make a push into the Massachusetts sports betting market?

You can also expect to see DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Sportsbook all jockeying for one of the seven untethered online sports betting licenses.

After those companies find their way, a bevy of the smaller companies will try to find their way into the market as well. Will smaller operators such as Rush Street Interactive (with its BetRivers and SugarHouse brands), PointsBet, and WynnBET look to enter the market in some way?

It will also be interesting to see if the not-yet-launched Fanatics Sportsbook will look for a partnership or a license. Fanatics CEO Michael G. Rubin is focusing his company’s efforts to break into the sports betting market and it currently applied for both an online and retail Ohio sports betting license.

Fanatics also has an online and retail operator partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets and a retail partnership with the Cleveland Guardians. Will Fanatics take as an aggressive strategy to enter the Massachusetts sports betting market?

Either way, state bettors should see a bevy of options when Massachusetts online sports betting is launched.

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Robert Linnehan

Gambling
Regulatory Writer and Editor

Regulatory Writer and Editor

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.

Gambling

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.

Author: Jesse Smith