With a population of seven million, Massachusetts has almost double the population of the Republic of Ireland but, while the betting mad Emerald Isle has been able to back legally on sports for decades, it will be something completely new for the residents of the Bay State.
Massachusetts sports betting should be a crackerjack too. The state is home to some of the nation’s most ardent sports fans, most successful professional sports franchises and global HQ of DraftKings. Furthermore, until 2009 there were two greyhound tracks in the state and two racecourses: Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Racecourse.
When the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018 countless states in the U.S. scrambled to get state legislation in place to allow its residents and visitors to bet legally in their states.
Amongst them was Massachusetts who, like New York, were mad keen to grab the revenue stream which legal Massachusetts sports betting will bring. But, like the Empire State, it was not ready to let its people bet legally in Massachusetts as legislation had not been introduced or debated.
The introduction and passing of legal Massachusetts sports betting laws may not happen until the summer of June 2019, which is the same time the state’s first two resort casinos: MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, owned by Wynn Resorts, are planned to open.
But there are plenty of places to gamble between now and then. As well as the racetracks you can bet on simulcast races on horse and dogs at Raynham Park.
Tickets for the Massachusetts lottery (and games such as scratch-cards and pull-tabs) can be purchased all over the state.
MGM resorts are well equipped for legal Massachusetts sports betting and have plenty of traditional sportsbooks in Vegas and also have a sports betting app which can be used through a mobile device anywhere in Nevada. With a new casino set to open in the state, their integrity and background, they are sure to become one of the sports betting sites in Massachusetts.
Fantasy sports outfit, DraftKings, which employs over 300 people in the state and boasts a customer-base of ten million people will surely try to position themselves in the traditional sports betting market and there would be no better place for them to be based and licenced.
Of course Paddy Power Betfair have been aggressive with their American ambitions and interestingly they recently bought out fantasy sports betting site FanDuel. You can expect them to make a bid for a licence or to partner with a casino. Likewise William Hill will be keen to get a foothold in this desirable marketplace.
Ultimately legalized Massachusetts sports betting will probably not be rolled-out until the middle of 2019 at the earliest. Lawmakers are on the record as saying this delay will give them time to “get everything right” and enable them to ensure protection “of those suffering from or at risk of developing a gambling disorder.”
Given the legislative session ends July 31st 2018 new laws cannot come into effect until 2019. That prompted James Chisholm, a spokesman for DraftKings, to tell the Boston Herald: “The company is doing everything it can to help sports betting get passed in Massachusetts quickly. “If something isn’t going to be passed by the end of this session, there’s no reason to wait until next year to do the work..”
So it’s a case of later rather than sooner for Massachusetts legal sports betting albeit the T’s will be crossed and I’s dotted when the green light is signalled.