Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch to "Take a Little Longer"

Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch to "Take a Little Longer"
© USA Today

Those celebrating the start of sports betting in Massachusetts might have to temper their excitement.  

Massachusetts Gaming Commission member Bradford Hill warned the state’s sports betting launch could take some time, meaning it could be a while before locals can bet on the New England Patriots or Boston Celtics. 

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Hill also reiterated the Commonwealth doesn’t plan on expediting the licensing process because of deadlines or public pressure.

“We are going to do this right,” Hill said during a meeting between the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Executive Director Karen Wells on Thursday. “In order for us to do this right, we need to take our time a little bit. I’ve seen some quotes in the newspaper from the public and others that they hope to have this up and running in a very, very short amount of time. From my point of view, this is going to take longer than people anticipate.” 

Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to sign a bill that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts after a Conference Committee between the House and Senate worked on a sports betting bill to send to the governor. Baker has publicly supported a legalized sports wagering market in Massachusetts, citing revenue the state is missing out on by not featuring sports betting. 

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Legislators Want Quick Turnaround 

Hill’s comments about a launch timetable differ from what members of the conference committee are saying. Sen. Michael Rodrigues remained hopeful bettors will be able to place bets in time to bet on the NFL

The Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8 for the NFL’s regular-season debut, meaning Massachusetts’ launch would come just over a month after being legalized, depending on when Baker signs the bill.  

“I think it will be,” Rodrigues said on Monday about whether betting will be live in time for the start of the NFL season. “Hopefully. You can bet on in-state football teams, so you can bet on the Patriots.” 

Sen. Eric Lesser was on 96.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and said he thought the “whole thing could be up and running” by October. Lesser was also a member of the conference committee.  

According to bookies.com, an MGC staff member said up to 225 new rules will have to be enacted to regulate sports wagering, and the timetable for the approval of the new rules could take between 60 to 90 days.  

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Massachusetts Sports Betting Overview 

Once Baker signs the sports betting bill into law, bettors will be able to place wagers at retail casinos, horse racing tracks and online through sportsbook apps and websites. 

The bill has a 20% tax rate on retail sports betting revenue and a 15% rate for online revenue. Estimated state revenue is currently projected at $60 million.  

The state allows for seven mobile skins. Expect well-known brands such as DraftKings and Barstool to get licenses. 

DraftKings is based in Boston and already has deals with the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and New England Patriots. Barstool was founded in Boston, where it also has a sizeable following.  

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