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Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch Not Until 2023

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Oct 6, 2022 · 1:14 PM PDT

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Sep 10, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) gestures rounding the bases after hitting a grand slam home run during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports
  • The most aggressive launch of Massachusetts sports betting has the state launching in 2023
  • As per a timeline put forth by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission today, retail would begin in January and online by February
  • No way it can be done earlier than 2023, executive director says

Massachusetts online sports betting has no chance to launch in 2022, according to members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

During a marathon meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Executive Director Karen Wells put forth an “aggressive” timeline for the Commonwealth’s sports betting launch, which has retail sports betting launching in January 2023 and online sports betting in February 2023.

“There is no way we can do this any earlier. No way,” Wells said at the meeting.

Massachusetts Sports Betting by 2023 at Earliest

The aggressive timeline presented by Wells is the absolute earliest Massachusetts can expect sports betting to begin. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has proven to be very cautious about moving quickly through the process, which means the the state’s online sports betting launch may not occur until after the Super Bowl in February.

If everything shakes out correctly and the aggressive timeline is reached, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission would have to approve sports betting license application forms and make them available to retail and online operators this week. The applications would be due in 30 days, Wells said, and retail licenses would be awarded in December and online licenses by early February.

Commissioner Nakisha Skinner expressed her dismay that the aggressive timeline was even being taken into consideration. Why, she asked, is a timeline not being revealed that will give the legislators ample time to successful launch Massachusetts sports betting?

“If this compressed timeline makes sense and is responsible, I’m all for it. But what’s the rationale for this compressed timeline being advanced, as opposed to a reasonable timeline for when this team can get this done?” Skinner asked.

It does seem to be a “patron oriented” timeline, Commissioner Jordan Maynard said, and would require extraordinary resources to be able to pull off. Several commissioners also noted that it may not give the legislative body enough time to properly vet all applicants for sports betting licenses.

Wells did remind the commissioners that the timeline was not set in stone and was simply the earliest that sports betting could possibly be launched in the Commonwealth.

“This is not a definitive timeline, but a tool for discussion,” she said.

Wells noted that the gaming commission expected about 35 applicants for online sports betting licenses.

Sports Betting by the Super Bowl?

Commissioner Brad Hill said when the sports betting bill was signed into law this summer, he envisioned sports betting up and running by the Super Bowl. It’s clear, he said, that this may no longer be the case.

Hill said if the commission is aggressive it could have retail sports betting by Feb. 12, 2023, the date of Super Bowl LVII. He said he hopes online sports betting can be up and running by the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament in March.

“We need to have Category 1 (retail sports betting) up and running by the Super Bowl. And this is my opinion, but we need to be aggressive to get Category 3 (online sports betting) up and running soon after. I’ll put out a date. I want this to be up by the NCAA’s Tournament in March,” he said.

Despite the aggressiveness of the timeline, Maynard said he hopes online sports betting is up and running by the Super Bowl.

“I’m willing to put in the work,” he said.

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