Legal retail sportsbooks are expected to officially launch in Massachusetts on Jan. 31, 2023. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission shared specifics regarding the state’s retail sports betting launch at the end of Thursday’s meeting.
Three casinos — Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET), Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Sportsbook), and MGM Springfield (BetMGM) — will launch their retail sportsbooks on Jan. 31.
Prior to Jan. 31, the casinos will go through other testing. On Jan. 16, there will be on-site kiosk software testing at each location. On Jan. 27, the casinos will receive certificates of operations. A “soft launch” will take place on Jan. 30 before the Jan. 31 launch.
Massachusetts retail sports betting launch timeline:
Jan. 16 – kiosk software testing
Jan. 27 – certificates of operations awarded
Jan. 30 – soft launch
Jan. 31 – official sports betting launch at three casinos
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) December 22, 2022
The retail sports betting launch will occur before the Super Bowl, which is scheduled for Feb. 12. As for mobile sports betting, a firm timeline has yet to be shared by the MGC, although the goal is an early March launch.
There was an unexpected spat between members of the MGC regarding the timeline. One commissioner, Nakisha Skinner, hoped to attend the soft launch at a casino location, but she’s unavailable on Jan. 30. She said she made her unavailability known well in advance of Thursday’s discussion, but MGC Executive Director Karen Wells and MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein seemed unaware of those plans.
Skinner requested the soft launch and launch process be delayed a day, but the request was declined by Judd-Stein and others due to a desire to launch sports wagering in Massachusetts by the end of January. Another commissioner will fill in for Skinner during a Jan. 30 soft launch.
The scheduling miscommunication led to lively discussion as Skinner sounded blindsided that she wouldn’t be able to attend a soft launch.