Underage Sports Betting Regulation Holding Up Massachusetts Sports Betting

Written By C.J. Pierre on November 17, 2022 - Last Updated on August 7, 2023
Which Boston native is the sports betting G.O.A.T.: Portnoy or Simmons?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has been working day and night to come up with sports betting regulations in order to be ready for a January retail launch. However, they are hitting a roadblock when it comes to deciding how to prevent underage betting on sports.

MGC Commissioner Eileen O’Brien expressed concerns about how racetracks will separate bettors under age 21 from bettors over age 21. Massachusetts allows horse race betting starting at the age of 18. However, only individuals ages 21 and up will be able to wager legally on sports.

Brainstorming How To Prevent Underage Betting

With MA sports betting on the way, commissioners have suggested several ways to stop minors from illegally betting in Massachusetts retail sportsbooks. Among them are surveillance cameras, security checks, and even requiring cashiers to take bets.

Massachusetts has put in place security checks to keep underage people out of casino gambling halls. Safety protocols are also in place to keep those under 18 out of pari-mutuel horse betting.

MGC staffer David Mackey edited a proposed underage betting rule to state that no one under the age of 21 may “enter any sportsbook area, sportsbook establishment or place a bet at a sportsbook kiosk.” Commissioner O’Brien stressed she wanted reassurance that racetracks specifically can keep sports betting kiosks away from those under 21.

“So either lock it down and say it can’t be there at all, or we’ll come up with language that says you have to wall it off,” said Commissioner O’Brien. “I don’t know what level of detail is at least acceptable there.”

Related news: Massachusetts Looks To Ban Ads Targeted At Underage Bettors

How Major Operators Are Preventing Underage Sports Betting

Keeping kids from participating in underage sports betting is easier said than done. But it is an issue that weighs heavily on the minds of many across the US.

In addition, it is something that the major sports betting operators say they are working to help prevent. Both DraftKings Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook have “underage gambling” sections listed on the Responsible Gambling pages on their websites.

Related news: Massachusetts To Be Strict On Underage Sports Gambling

There is a responsibility on each individual state to address the issue as well. In New Jersey, people under 21 can go inside casinos. However, they can not go out onto the gambling floor. If you are underage and get caught on a gambling floor, you could face the following penalties:

  1. Fines (Between $500 and $1,000)
  2. Driver’s license suspension (Six months)
  3. Probation
  4. Community service
  5. Jail time

Parents, guardians, or anyone with custody of a child charged with underage gambling can also face charges.

The hope is that these delays in figuring out how to stop kids from betting on sports won’t impact The Bay State’s sports betting launch timeline. Massachusetts plans to launch retail sports betting at casinos and tracks in late January. Online sports betting is expected to follow in late February or early March.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayMA. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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