While legal Massachusetts sports betting technically began on Jan. 31, everyone is still waiting for another shoe to drop. On Thursday, Bay Staters got a better idea of when that drop might happen.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Executive Director Karen Wells stated that the first online sportsbooks could start taking bets in the state at 10 a.m. local time on March 10. That is, provided all the remaining regulatory work goes smoothly and licensees are prepared.
March 10 could be the day for online Massachusetts sports betting
During Thursday’s meeting of the MGC, Wells shared some news that those waiting to get in on this Massachusetts gambling expansion have been waiting for.
“I’m proposing a tentative launch date for the Category III mobile operators, our online operators, of [Friday] March 10,” Wells stated. “The suggestion is that we do it that date because it gives us the weekend if there’s any issues before March Madness starts and then there’s a Monday where we could have a Commission meeting if necessary if there’s any issues before the big tournament starts. Then, the recommendation is that we start at 10 a.m. There are some events that folks might want to wager on for March 10 itself. That’s why the recommendation came down.”
Wells was very clear that is a tentative start date and time. She stated that whether that launch occurs is dependent on the quality of the internal controls review for compliance with regulations in the state. Additionally, it will depend on how responsive license applicants are to regulators’ needs.
Wells further confirmed the Commission plans to issue temporary licenses to online operators who qualify on Feb. 23. Then, on March 8 or 9, the Commission could issue operations certificates. Those certificates would represent the final regulatory step before apps could go live.
Right now, none of the potential online sportsbooks have shared that 10 a.m. at March 10 is good for them, though.
What are the odds of a March 10 launch?
At this point, a 10 a.m. launch on March 10 has to be the betting favorite for at least some of the online sportsbooks coming to Massachusetts. The potential operators are mostly experienced and have done these launches several times before.
That might not be the case for all of the licensed apps, however. As Wells pointed out, the Commission does have the option to issue certificates for March 10 for some but not all licensees.
Wells said the Commission would do its best to ensure all operators have the chance to go live at the first opportunity, though. So far, none of the likely sportsbooks have confirmed they would be ready for March 10. Those apps should eventually include:
- Bally Bet
Whether each of these operators will be ready for March 10 is more up to them than the Commission at this point. For those of them that are ready, the 2023 NCAA D1 basketball championships that start on March 14 (men’s) and March 15 (women’s) should make for a great start.