The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held a public meeting Thursday, September 8 as officials discussed regulations for the forthcoming Massachusetts online sports betting market. During the conference call, multiple aspects of operations were discussed, but it appears Massachusetts online sports betting won’t be going live for some time.
Massachusetts Online Sports Betting Making Progress
On the agenda, lawmakers put to a vote more than $2.1 million to be allocated for sports betting operations. This was passed unanimously 5-0 by the MGC committee. The progress made during the meeting is a good sign for the forthcoming market; however, commissioners made it clear that sports betting is not imminent and that the regulation process takes a lot of time.
There was a growing belief in Boston that sports betting would be going live within the next three weeks. This rumor came from a local Boston radio show reporting this information. Commissioners specified during the public meeting that this is not the case, and they plan to take their time with finalizing the regulations for online sports betting in Massachusetts.
“I hope that the media can understand that putting information like that out to popular shows is very harmful to the process,” said Bradford Hill, MGC Commissioner. “And if they want the information and correct information, they can tune into us almost weekly, from this point on, and get updates on what’s going on.”
Massachusetts online sports betting passed into law on August 10 following Governor Charlie Baker signing HB 5164 into law. Despite becoming legal ahead of the 2023 NFL season, the market is unlikely to launch in time for NFL betting during the regular season.
What Are The Hold Ups For Mobile Sports Betting In Mass?
Lawmakers during the meeting expressed not wanting to rush things. Commissioner Bradford Hill expressed that going too slow is not a concern but going too fast is. It is expected that more meetings will take place to iron out key details in the coming months, with a late 2022 to early 2023 launch a realistic possibility.
The law allows for up to 15 online operators to go live in Massachusetts. Hill also mentioned being interested in how these operators would be community partners, despite being only available on mobile and computer devices. Hill compared this to how retail operators have expressed their positive impact on the community and advocated for this to be a part of the application process.
“These companies are, you know, running off the phones or your computer,” said Hill. “They’re going to be doing business here and I would love for somehow to know how they might be community partners. In regard to, you know, foodbanks and all the good things that we’ve heard from our retail operators. What they might propose, I’d like to see that as part of the application.”
The MGC is expected to meet again on September 15 to discuss temporary licenses as well as continue the discussion on the regulations. Massachusetts online sportsbooks may be a few months away from going live, but lawmakers are steadily working to bring the market to residents.