Legal Massachusetts Betting

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission met on Thursday but have not agreed or announced an official launch date for legal sports betting.
  • The biggest holdup is surrounding the number of licenses that are going to be available for operators. As of now, HB 5164 could dictate seven permeant and an unlimited number of temporary licenses.

BOSTON – While governor Charlie Baker signed sports betting into law in August of 2022, the legal Massachusetts betting market does not have an official launch date. There was a hearing last Thursday that resulted in details about the potential market but no launch date was set or put into schedule.

The longer that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission takes to launch the legal market, the more weeks of the 2022-23 NFL season that pass. With the Patriots in New England, the state is missing out on lucrative betting tax after the third week of the season has ended.

While residents of Massachusetts are anxious for an update on the legal sports betting market, there have been no major developments that point toward a launch any time soon. There are issues with the permanent and temporary licenses that can be handed out to legal operators.

As the law currently sits, the language causes some minor issues but could be interpreted to allow the commissioner to grant an unlimited number of temporary licenses and only seven permeant licenses for legal sports betting in Massachusetts.

The current legislature, House Bill 5164, states that a temporary license would require a $1 million payment but the license could be lost after only a few months of operating. This risk could easily make operators less inclined to pursue the competitive market.

This hearing also addressed the idea of all legal betting launching on the same day. The Massachusetts law could allow online or retail operators to launch through different timelines but operators like DraftKings have expressed their interest in supporting a universal launch date for all types of legal wagering.

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