With the signing, Massachusetts became the third state this year, behind Maine and Kansas, to legalize sports wagering, joining those two states and Ohio on the road to launch. Baker signed the legislation a day before the deadline to do so and more than a week after lawmakers extended their session with the sole goal of approving legal wagering.
The compromise bill sent to Baker will allow for statewide mobile wagering with up to 15 platforms and will ban most betting on Massachusetts college sports teams and events. Operators will be taxed 15% on retail wagering and 20% on mobile betting.
Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park), BetMGM (MGM-Springfield), and WynnBET (Encore-Boston Harbor) already have market access, and it’s a sure bet that Boston-based DraftKings and rival FanDuel will scoop up two of the seven stand-alone mobile platforms available by law.
Sports betting is now legal in the state that knows a thing or two about winning!
Our next step is applying to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to bring sports betting to the WynnBET Sportsbook at @EncoreResortBH and online through the WynnBET app as soon as we can! pic.twitter.com/gBoth6fw9d
— WynnBET (@WynnBET) August 10, 2022
Go-live date down the road
Vermont is now the only New England state that has not legalized sports wagering, and whenever launch happens, Bay Staters will be able to stay home rather than traveling to Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, or Rhode Island to place their bets. In fact, when the market is fully mature, people in Massachusetts will have more choices than those residing in any of its border states.
Legalization is the first step in what could be a long process to live betting. The new law does not specify a go-live date. For months, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been saying it is ready to regulate legal wagering, and last week shared where it is in the process.
But during last week’s meeting — the first to directly address sports betting — Commissioner Bradford Hill tempered expectations.
“I want the public to understand that this doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “We are going to do this right, and in order to do this right, we need to take our time a little bit.”
After a four-year process, sports betting is now legal in Massachusetts!! 🏈⚾️🏀🏒⚽️
— Eric Lesser (@EricLesser) August 10, 2022
In most states, it takes six to 12 months to go from legalization to live wagering, though a handful of U.S. jurisdictions — including Connecticut, Indiana, and Iowa — have done it in four months or less. Massachusetts has a mature gaming market and an experienced commission, so the process should move smoothly.
At the time Baker signed, the MGC already had a meeting to address the regulatory process set for Thursday morning.