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Jarrod LeBlanc

Jarrod serves as Casino City's associate editor and helps produce and edit all of our weekly newsletters, as well as the GPWA Times Magazine.

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Massachusetts sets tentative dates for sports betting launch

12 Oct 2022

By Jarrod LeBlanc
Bay State sports bettors may be able to legally wager on the NFL Playoffs in January, but it appears online players will have to wait until March Madness.

That was the tentative timeline announced at last week’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting, more than two months after the state’s Sports Betting Conference Committee finally reached an agreement on legislation. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on 10 August, but there have been delays in getting things up and running.

In addition to being able to get all of the legislative t’s crossed and i’s dotted prior to those proposed dates, one of the concerns of the committee members revolves around the National Football League’s AFC and NFC Championship games, which are scheduled for Sunday, 29 January, as well as the Super Bowl, which is scheduled for Sunday, 12 February.

“We have a lot of regulations to put into place,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Executive Director Karen Wells on the video. “…It’s also a public safety issue.”

This is so as the committee members don’t want people inundating the casinos depending on the date and time that in-person sports betting goes live in Massachusetts.

“Here’s what I’m going to put out there and I know this is not going to be popular,” said one Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner, Nakisha Skinner on the video. “Madam Chair (Cathy Judd-Stein) you talked about five different timelines that you have seen. I don’t know how many of us have seen those timelines, but I have not. What I would like to request is to see a timeline that maximizes the full complement of protections to the public, the full complement of meaningful suitability reviews, the full complement of all of the resources that we have already talked about engaging with to make sure that we launch sports wagering in a way that’s effective, expeditious, without compromising our standards, right. In a way that’s responsible. That is what I’m going to ask for at this point.”

It's clear that there are still a lot of things to be ironed out on these dates and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission tabled this issue until a future meeting.

When sports betting finally does launch in the Bay State, retail casinos MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino will receive two online skins each, while race tracks Suffolk Downs and Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park will receive one online skin each. Overall, the state can have up to 15 operators, meaning there will be seven “untethered” online sports betting licenses that will be awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
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