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Massachusetts Regulated Sports Betting Kicked Off Today

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Jan/31/2023

Legalized sports betting officially kicked off Tuesday January 31, 2023 in Massachusetts immediately following the weekend's NFL conference championship games and right in time for the Super Bowl.  The first bet was placed at 10 am ET.

Encore Boston Harbor in Everett will have more than a hundred kiosks with express service in the parking garage while Plainridge Park Casino in In Plainville has a temporary spot set up with a new location and restaurant opening this summer.

Regulated books will not be able to process credit cards, unlike their offshore counterparts.  Likewise, the state-licensed apps will be prohibited from taking bets on Massachusetts schools or games that feature them unless the game is part of a tournament with a minimum of four teams participating. They will also be limited in their Super Bowl prop bet offerings (i.e. no Halftime Show, Gatorade or Anthem bets).

Among those approved for a temporary mobile license, DraftKings was busy filming a commercial that features former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Boston Bruins legend Zdeno Chara ahead of the rollout.  DraftKings is headquartered in the commonwealth.

In late December, state regulators in Massachusetts approved Caesars to operate a sports betting website in the commonwealth.  They became the third casino company granted a license after Wynn and MGM.

Caesars already has a foothold in a number of U.S. states including Louisiana.  We had an opportunity this past week to visit their sprawling sportsbook in Harrah's New Orleans.

Caesars Louisiana sportsbooks are making a name for themselves for their willingness to accept huge million dollar bets from Houston area furniture mogul Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale.

caesars_sportsbook_new_orleans(1).png

Not Welcome to the Party Just Yet

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to allow Caesars following a grueling review of MGM Springfield's tie-in with a third party vendor that runs its mobile site BetMGM.  Commissioners delayed a decision on the sports betting license application from Plainridge Park Casino due to concerns over ties with Barstool Sports and its controversial founder, Dave Portnoy.

BetMGM was approved for a license one day prior to acknowledging a breach of customer accounts occurring some time in May of this year.  BetMGM parent company, Entain, had been handed down a record fine by UK regulators for failure to implement money laundering safeguards over the summer.

Additionally, Bet365 has severed its partnership deal with Raynham Park and will no longer seek entry into the Masschusetts market at this time.

In November, George Carney, the owner of Raynham, said he was “thrilled” to partner with one of the world’s largest sportsbook operators “to offer this high-demand entertainment to our customers.”

Carney has since confirmed the race track will now partner with Caesars.

More of What You Can't Bet on

  •     High school and youth sports
  •     College teams from Massachusetts (unless they’re playing in a tournament with at least four teams, like March Madness)
  •     Olympics events that are decided by judges (i.e. gymnastics or skating) — because the Gaming Commission had lingering questions about their “more subjective” nature
  •     Chess — because of a cheating scandal involving one of its top players
  •     Cornhole — because of a cheating scandal called, yes, BagGate
  •     Esports — because of unanswered questions regulators had about esports’ various governing bodies
  •     Jai alai — due to an exclusive betting contract the American jai alai league has with an out-of-state company

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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