Still No Date For Massachusetts Retail Sports Betting Launch

Still No Date For Massachusetts Retail Sports Betting Launch

Mac Jones, Quarterback, New England Patriots

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Dec.15, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Despite a busy roundtable, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has not set a retail sports betting launch date
Massachusetts sports betting operators all noted they require a firm launch date from the commission to prepare
Universal launch date was agreed upon by operators as opposed to staggered launch

No timeline for retail Massachusetts sports betting has been set by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, but the way casinos can launch seems to have been agreed upon.

After a nearly four-hour roundtable meeting with state casinos and racetracks eligible to offer retail sports betting, Massachusetts Gaming Commission members said they were still weeks away from declaring a start date for Massachusetts retail sports betting.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said the commission would likely have a better idea of a potential timeline at the commission’s next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 8. However, Judd-Stein said she understands that the potential sportsbook operators are planning their launches on a yet-to-be announced timeline from the commission.

The commissioners also seemed to agree that a “universal launch” would be an appropriate strategy moving forward, as opposed to a first-come-first-served “staggered” launch in the state.

Casinos & Tracks Ready for Sports Betting Launch

Representatives from state casinos Encore Harbor Boston, Plainridge Park Casino, and MGM Springfield, plus representatives from Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs, all expressed positivity at being able to launch retail sports betting at their facilities soon, either in temporary sportsbooks or previously constructed sports lounges.

“MGM Springfield has already expended millions of dollars in constructing a sports betting lounge…we have a cage built out and we’re all set to go,” Augustine Kim, VP and Legal Counsel of BetMGM Springfield, said at the meeting.

Kim said when the final regulations are set by the gaming commission MGM Springfield will be able to launch retail sports betting within 90 days.

Jacqui Krum, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Encore Boston Harbor, said the casino will utilize a permanent sports lounge it constructed in preparation for legalized sports betting. Krum also noted the casino was considering installing sports betting kiosks in a level of the parking garage for customers to be able to access from their cars.

Universal or Staggered Start Date?

While a start date was not revealed, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will likely institute a “universal launch” strategy for retail sports betting on the suggestion of the operators. The commission will reveal a start date that entities can begin offering retail sports betting and any or all approved operators will be able to launch at that time.

A firm launch date will allow operators to construct their own launch timelines and strategies to gear up for a launch, Krum said. It will allow for a level playing field for all operators to begin at the same time.

Operators are dependent on the commission to receive approval for various regulatory hurdles they need to clear before launching. Also, with a firm timeline and launch date, Krum said the entities will be able to gather necessary equipment (such as sports betting kiosks) and pass regulatory testing requirements.

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:

Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs have yet to announce any partnerships.

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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