With big smiles and plenty of enthusiastic words, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday morning approved the final set of rules needed for three casino sportsbooks to launch retail wagering next Tuesday.
Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park all previously received initial approval to become the first entities to take wagers in the Bay State, and all have plans to take bets Tuesday.
Addressing the agency’s staff, MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said, “We’ve put up the regulatory framework. You have stood up the framework for Tuesday morning’s launch, so congratulations! Awesome!”
Commissioner Jordan Maynard echoed the sentiment, saying, “Thank you for doing the impossible.”
The commission unanimously approved amended regulations around house rules, occupational licenses, operations certificates, authority and definitions, and protection of minors. The rules were developed and approved less than five months after the state’s General Court approved legal sports betting on Aug. 1.
More rules are still in the works for the digital launch, which is set for early March.
Six operators — Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet — have been approved for standalone digital licenses, and five additional tethered platforms have been approved. Each casino is entitled to up to two digital skins, or platforms, which have been claimed by Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park), BetMGM (MGM Springfield), Caesars Sportsbook (Encore Boston Harbor), Fanatics (Plainridge Park), and WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor). MGM Springfield has one skin remaining.
Brief look at opening day plans
Both Encore (WynnBET) and MGM (BetMGM) have plans for opening-day events beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday, while Plainridge Park (Barstool Sportsbok) has a ribbon cutting set for 1 p.m. All three will have local sports celebrities on hand for opening day.
The three casinos have built out sportsbooks that include teller windows, kiosks, and lounge areas. In addition to its physical sportsbook, Encore will have a drive-up wagering area with kiosks available in its parking garage, and it has plans for 118 kiosks around the property.
Curious how the recent legalization of sports betting will affect the Massachusetts gambling landscape?
Join us on February 2nd at 12pm ET for “Gambling in Massachusetts: From Table Games to Sportsbooks” with Dr. Rachel Volberg.
— NCPG (@NCPGambling) January 26, 2023
The Massachusetts commission has additional meetings scheduled prior to the launch, during which it will discuss details of launch day and equipment testing.
Going forward, Massachusetts will have two additional retail wagering locations at two parimutuel centers, Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs. Caesars Sportsbook announced this week that it has partnered with Raynham Park for a 30,000-square-foot wagering facility, though an opening date has not been announced.
Suffolk Downs has yet to announce a partner. Neither track has been approved for a wagering license, and they are on a different timeline from the casinos.