Physical Massachusetts Sportsbooks Could Open Before February

Written By Derek Helling on January 19, 2023
casinos massachusetts sports betting retail kiosks

If you’re in Everett, Plainville, or Springfield, Massachusetts and not doing anything on Jan. 31, you might have a new entertainment option that day. If everything goes smoothly between then and now, in-person Massachusetts sports betting might begin that day at the casinos in those cities.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has confirmed it is targeting Jan. 31 for the launch of the three physical sportsbooks. Whether that will indeed be the first day of legal gambling on sports in the Bay State depends on several final regulatory matters.

Massachusetts sports betting hurling ever nearer

The MGC has been busy over these past few weeks, spending nearly every available hour trying to get legal sportsbooks up and running. During their meeting on Wednesday, MGC members confirmed their hopeful timeline for launching retail sportsbooks.

The plan entails:

  • Friday, Jan. 20 – final MGC vote on sports betting regulations for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25 – certification of licenses for Category 1 operators
  • Monday, Jan. 30 – soft launches of physical sportsbooks at casinos
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31 – go-live date for operators that pass all inspections

That means sports betting kiosks and windows at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park could start taking bets as soon as Jan. 31. Those three Category 1 applicants already have approval for at least temporary licenses.

Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs are eligible under Massachusetts law to apply for Category 2 licenses to take in-person bets on sports as well. They have yet to submit applications for those licenses to the MGC, however.

The proposed timeline for retail launches is currently tentative based on many factors. So far, none of the three casinos have confirmed they would be ready to start taking bets on Jan. 31 if given regulatory approval to do so. The contingent launch date does afford one big possibility.

Biggest Super Bowl ever at Massachusetts casinos

A start for in-person sports betting at any of the three casinos on Jan. 31 or even in the first week of February means those sportsbooks could have any “bugs” worked out in time for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12.

Thus, Massachusetts could expect the casinos to offer significant festivities and perhaps promotions around the 2023 edition of the NFL’s annual championship game.

Super Bowl Sunday tends to be the single largest sports betting day of each year. The casinos would be remiss not to roll out their best hospitality and offers on that day this year, especially with shiny new sportsbooks to introduce guests to.

While Super Bowl LVIII could be a bigger deal in Massachusetts because online sportsbooks should be live well before then, Super Bowl LVII will always have a special place in Massachusetts gambling history. That is provided the casinos and regulators finish up their duties in time.

Photo by Playin USA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of Playin USA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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