- After a seven-month wait following the signing of a bill regulating sports betting, Massachusetts is ready to open online markets to many hungry bettors.
- Seven of the most well-known and renowned sportsbook app operators have already been granted licenses and are ready to launch on March 10 .
- Despite legalizing sports betting at large, restrictions still exist specifically for collegiate-level teams during their regular season and has resulted in controversy for casinos that violated the law.
BOSTON – When Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that regulated sports betting in Massachusetts last August, it became a huge win for gambling community. Now after seven months from the date of signing, legal betting sites are preparing to launch apps and online platforms with some of the biggest names in the industry participating.
On January 31, retail sports betting became legal in Massachusetts and three casino locations began accepting bets. This was not without controversy however, as all three would go on to be in violation of state laws that prohibit in-state collegiate betting.
Star-Studded Cast of Operators Assemble
Preparations for the eventual launch of sportsbook apps on March 10 required the consistent planning and processing of license agreements that has characterized much of early 2023. This culminated in seven famous sportsbooks coming to Massachusetts with a couple more on the way later in the year.
The list of confirmed sportsbook apps is impressive and comprehensive, being composed of: Caesars Sportsbook, Betr, BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel, Barstool Sportsbook, and WynnBet.
In addition to these, BallyBet and Fanatics Sportsbook will be ready to launch a little later in the year, around May of 2023.
The launch date by Massachusetts is being timed perfectly, allowing for a flood of wagers on the upcoming March Madness NCAA tournament that will begin just four days after the various sportsbooks begin accepting bets. Importantly, sports betting law in the state disallows most collegiate teams based in Massachusetts from being bet on, except when playing in tournaments such as March Madness.
Controversy Plagues Retail Sports Betting
On January 31, retail sports betting was legalized in the three Massachusetts casinos: Encore Boston Harbor, Plainridge Park, and MGM Springfield but just two weeks later each was found to be in violation of the law.
The aforementioned law bans betting on in-state collegiate teams and failed to be enforced by the casinos due to various issues within their software. Encore Boston Harbor was likely the least impactful, as it only took a singular bet involving Boston College’s women’s basketball team, which was promptly voided after it was found. The casino claimed that it was due to their software not placing the in-state excluding filter on women’s games, something that was shortly after corrected.
Plainridge Park was a bit more severe, allowing 33 bets due to the casino’s betting software failing to correctly identify the home state of Merrimack College. Casino employees have ensured that the filters to prevent illegal betting was reviewed and fixed to prevent future mistakes.
Lastly, MGM Springfield casino remains under investigation for illegally allowing bets to be placed on a few Harvard University regular season basketball games earlier this month, due to internal software marking Harvard’s location as Connecticut.
Overall, while many controversies have swirled regarding the retail sports betting scene, no drastic action is expected to be taken against the casinos themselves. Legal Massachusetts sportsbooks can thus focus their efforts in fully preparing for the launch of their respective online apps and websites. With brick-and-mortar locations already under fire, it should be expected that the online launch will not be as sloppy as the retail version that came before it.
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News tags: BallyBet | Barstool Sportsbook | BetMGM | Betr | Boston College | Caesars Sportsbook | Charlie Baker | Connecticut | DraftKings Sportsbook | Encore Boston Harbor casino | Fanatics | FanDuel | Harvard University | March Madness Tournament | Massachusetts | Merrimack College | MGM Springfield casino | Plainridge Park Casino | WynnBET
Jeremias is a current Florida State University student majoring in Editing, Writing and Media as well as Media/Communication studies. Primarily focused on the NFL, NBA, and NHL, Jeremias has a passion for sports statistics research that helps bettors find the blind spots in sportsbooks.