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2 Massachusetts casinos could already have breached regulator sports betting rules

Ollie Ring profile picture
Sports Editor
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Legalized sports betting went live in the state of Massachusetts just last week and two of the three sportsbooks are under investigation into potential breaches of gambling regulations.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission are set to meet Thursday, and points on the MGC’s agenda for the meeting suggest that both Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor casinos could have fallen foul of the commission’s rules just a week into launch.

What does the Massachusetts Gaming Commission agenda say?

The specific point reads:

  • The Commission anticipates that it may meet in executive session in conjunction with its review of Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor’s compliance with the Approved Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog in accordance with G.L. c. 30A, § 21(a)(7) and G.L. c. 4, §7(26)(f) (the investigatory exemption of the Massachusetts Public Records Law) to discuss the details of any ongoing investigation related to the licensees’ compliance with the Approved Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog.

The potential violations thus relate to the casinos offering markets on unapproved sports, per the Massachusetts wagering catalog that was released prior.

The MGC  voted to have player award futures and professional drafts as part of its approved catalog, meaning bets on the MVP of the Super Bowl and other speculative futures are permitted under legislation. The legislation also allows for wagering on awards and special events such as the Academy Awards (Oscars), Emmy Awards and more novelty events such as Nathan’s Famous hot Dog Eating Contest.

What are the banned sports for wagering in MA?

The list of categories not included by unanimous vote were:

  • Chess
  • Cornhole
  • Esports
  • Jai Alai
  • Judged athletic competitions (such as the Olympics)
  • Russian and/or Belarusian-sanctioned events
  • Virtual sports

A spokesperson for the commission did not reveal any further detail, other than telling local press that it would provide an update on catalog compliance.

Legal sports betting in Massachusetts was celebrated with three grand openings at the casinos in which legal sports betting is being operated, with various local politicians, current and former sports stars appearing and placing their first legal wagers (where appropriate). Mayor Domenic Sarno placed the state’s first legal wager, with $50 on the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Kansas City Chiefs at the BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Springfield. It’s worth noting that the BetMGM Sportsbook is the only one of the three not mentioned in the MGC agenda.

The sportsbooks are likely to experience their biggest weekend yet, with Superbowl LVII imminent. Whereas betting on the Superbowl is now a thing of ease for residents of MA. The same can not be said for other states, where sports betting is still not legal. California online sports betting remains illegal, with Oklahoma sports betting and Texas online gaming also not permitted by the individual states.

Ollie is an experienced writer covering everything from esports to regulatory developments in the USA. He loves obscure data points and the occasional lousy parlay on 20 tennis players which inevitably loses.

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