The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved a sports wagering catalog Tuesday, establishing the bet menu that awaits sportsbook customers when retail sports betting launches on Jan. 31.
Massachusetts bettors will be allowed to wager on a wide range of sports, including major leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. Betting on most college sporting events is also allowed, although non-tournament games involving Massachusetts teams are prohibited.
The MGC withheld decisions on the Olympics and some less mainstream sports like chess, cornhole, and esports. Commissioners wanted more time to discuss those sporting events and the integrity standards and procedures of their governing bodies. Some concern was raised about wagering on Olympic sports that feature judging. Additional discussion on the non-major sporting events is expected before a mobile sports betting launch in March.
The MGC approved a betting catalog with the events/leagues you’d expect, although chess, cornhole, esports, and the Olympics are on hold. Those are expected to be discussed again in the near future. Commissioners wanted more time to consider those sports.
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) January 24, 2023
Wagering on league drafts will be allowed, as well as wagering on subjective awards like the NFL MVP. There was some pushback about allowing wagering on subjective awards, but it ultimately was approved. Wagering on entertainment awards shows like the Oscars is also allowed.
Retail launch imminent
Retail sportsbooks are expected to begin taking bets in Massachusetts on Jan. 31. Three casinos — Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET), MGM Springfield (BetMGM), Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Sportsbook) — will launch retail sportsbooks at that time.
Field inspections recently took place at the three casinos. Encore has 118 kiosks and eight point-of-sale terminals that passed inspection, while the other locations have smaller totals. Plainridge Park had 20 kiosks and six point-of-sale terminals pass inspection, and MGM Springfield had eight kiosks and eight point-of-sale terminals.
At Plainridge Park, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 31. Former New England Patriots defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich is expected to place the first sports bet at the location. Encore and MGM have yet to share details about opening day ceremonies.
The retail sports betting launch will occur after the NFC and AFC Championship games, but will still give Massachusetts residents a chance to wager on the Feb. 12 Super Bowl.
Raynham Park’s bet365 partnership ends
Raynham Park previously had a mobile sports betting deal with bet365. That deal is off, a Raynham Park spokesperson told Sports Handle.
It’s unclear what bet365’s plans are in Massachusetts moving forward, as the operator did not immediately reply to Sports Handle’s request for comment.