Massachusetts online sports betting set to launch before March Madness

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Ollie Ring profile picture
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Massachusetts has set a tentative launch date for legalized online sports betting in the state. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has provisionally stated the March 10th, 2023 at 10:00 am will see the statewide launch of online sports betting.

Retail sports betting in MA launched in late January, with three of the states casinos offering wagers from midnight. The Legislature legalized sports betting back in August 2022.

Despite the recent launch, two of the three casinos were already under investigation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission into breaches of gambling regulations. Both Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor casino could have fallen foul of the commission’s rules by offering wagers not approved in the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog.

The only other casino, the BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Springfield, took the states first legal wager from Mayor Domenic Sarno who placed $50 on the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Kansas City Chiefs at Superbowl LVII.

The proposed date is a boost for commercial operators who will be looking to gain first movers advantage. After the Superbowl, March Madness is deemed one of the United States’ largest betting events, and will undoubtedly attract a huge volume of wagers. By the state having a legalized mobile sports betting offering in time for March Madness, the state is well placed to maximize potential revenue from the event.

In addition, the launch ahead of March Madness has been chosen to give operators time to get their proverbial houses in order, so any hiccups can be overcome in time for wagering on the big event. This is a sentiment echoed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, with MGC Executive Director Karen Wells stating: “I’m proposing a tentative launch date for the Category 3 mobile operators, or online operators, of March 10. The suggestion is we do it that date because it gives us the weekend if there’s any issues before March Madness starts, and then there’s a Monday where we could have a Commission meeting if necessary if there’s any issues before the big tournament starts. The recommendation is that we start at 10 am. There are some events that folks might want to wager on, on March 10 itself, so that’s why the recommendation came down.”

The Massachusetts Approved Wagering Catalog allows MA betting on event awards, and special events such as the MVP, so there’s great depth of markets for consumers to choose from when mobile sports betting goes live statewide. The only events not allowed currently are: Chess, Cornhole, Esports, Jai Alai, Judged athletic competitions, Russian and/or Belarusian-sanctioned events and Virtual sports.

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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