Massachusetts Sets March Madness as Mobile Sportsbook Launch

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved launch dates for mobile and retail sports betting.
  • Planning for Super Bowl (retail) and March Madness (online) launches, the next step is for potential sportsbooks to submit their initial survey by Monday.

BOSTON – By a 4-0 vote, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission set a sportsbook launch timeline.

Online sportsbooks in Massachusetts will open for business before March Madness. Meanwhile, retail sportsbook will get the nod before the Super Bowl.

This is a flexible timeline, though some in the commission question the timeline to start. Some (commissioners Eileen O’Brien and Nakisha Skinner) even see the timeline as aggressive.

Without any vote on specific dates, the commission still approved the launch date.

Kevin C. Conroy, partner of Foley Hoag, also agreed on the aggressiveness.

“This takes some time to review the actual applications, to meet with those who have filed applications, to review those applications, and make decisions upon them. So I do think March is an aggressive timeline for the untethered licenses.”

Linking back to 2013 casino licensing, Conroy explained how it will take time.

Next Steps

The timeline is adjustable per commission meeting. But, the goal will still be where they are set because of sporting events. Retail books are prepping for Super Bowl 57 odds. Mobile sportsbooks are launching for March Madness betting.

The commission has seven licenses to approve while they expect 35 applicants. Pushing the process back or launching on or after big events could create chaos.

“They would be flooded with people into the casino creating a possible problem,” said Sterl Carpenter. “It would be helpful if we could give them a little lead time.”

Skinner, the sole abstained vote, disagreed with putting the timeline around gambling events.

The commission will meet again Thursday though sports wagering is near the bottom of the agenda. This will include a review of public comments for the sportsbook application. Also, the commission will discuss contracts for operators.

As for potential sportsbooks in Massachusetts, the ball is in their court. The deadline to submit the initial survey to the MGC is Monday.