It’s going to be a while before you can bet on sports in Massachusetts. During a recent meeting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission asked for patience from avid sports fans.
There had been rumors that sports betting in The Bay State would be live in time for Week 4 of the NFL season. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case.
Several commission members expressed frustration at rumors floating around the state that the launch of sports betting is just a few weeks away. However, the reality is that it could take much longer than that.
Massachusetts Sports Betting Is Still Months Away
The Massachusetts state legislature passed a legal sports betting bill on Aug. 1, and now, it is up to the commission to write the rules and build the framework for legal gambling in Massachusetts. The commission has been working for months and is now in the early stages of the complicated and technical process of getting legal betting off the ground.
The commission is still weighing whether to allow Massachusetts casinos, which are already background checked, to start accepting sports bets before the online market. That would fast-track a launch. However, commissioners are hesitant to give certain operators a leg up by starting first.
Last week, over 42 companies filed notices of intent as the commission tried to gauge the potential market. DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM are among notable prospective suitors. Licensing will be competitive, with the state only allowing up to 15 online sports betting operators under the authorizing bill.
As of now, it appears as if Massachusetts sports betting is still likely to be launched in late 2022 or early 2023.
Still No Legal Sports Betting Options At This Time
Brad Hill of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission called out the “Toucher and Rich” sports talk radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, as he listened to a guest segment while driving into the meeting that claimed the state would be launching sports betting by Oct. 1.
“Today I actually got a little frustrated with it because they had a guest on and they were talking about sports betting and they made a comment that some think that we might be able to make a bet in three weeks at our brick and mortar casinos and our simulcasting facilities. And, obviously, that is not going to happen,” said Hill. “And it was frustrating because of the hundreds of thousands of people that listen to that show and think that they might be able to place a bet here in Massachusetts, it was frustrating.”
Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein co-signed those feelings. She also warned Commonwealth residents that there are no legal sports betting methods in the state. She says the Gaming Commission is taking steps to implement regulatory safeguards into the process for state sports bettors, and any options available right now are unregulated.
“The word is out that you can bet right now, or you can bet in two weeks. No. I want to provide consumer protections for those interested in betting,” said Judd-Stein.
The Gaming Commission took several small steps to get the process moving. A technology provision was approved by a vote of 4-0 with one abstention. The commission also approved an annual $2.1 million budget to regulate sports betting. It will be made up of 12 full-time employees and six part-time employees. Staff also has the go-ahead to start drafting regulations for sports betting license application criteria and selection.