Massachusetts opens first legal retail sportsbooks ahead of mobile launch
Massachusetts became the latest state to offer legal sports betting after three retail sportsbooks started accepting bets Tuesday.
The BetMGM sportsbook at MGM Springfield in the western portion of the state as well as the WynnBet sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor outside Boston both started taking bets shortly after 10 am local time Tuesday. Penn Entertainment’s temporary sportsbook at Plainridge Park Casino started taking bets shortly after 1 pm. Tuesday.
Massachusetts becomes the 34th state to offer at least one legal retail and/or online sportsbook. It is set to become the 18th state with at least five or more mobile books in March.
Retail sportsbook details
Both MGM and Wynn had formed the basis of their physical sportsbook in 2022, building the retail space for a fully functioning book even before the state passed its sports betting law in August of last year. Penn will complete its permanent Barstool-branded book in the coming months.
Encore Boston Harbor was set to offer up to 118 betting kiosks Tuesday, including machines within the casino’s parking garage, along with a betting window. MGM Springfield will have up to 18 kiosks along with a window while Plainridge is set to have up to 20 kiosks.
Tuesdays’ opening gives bettors in Massachusetts a legal betting option ahead of the upcoming Super Bowl, perenially the most wagered-upon individual sporting event in the US.
It's official: Massachusetts has legal sports betting; in-person sportsbooks have opened at the state's three casinos: $MGM Springfield, $WYNN's Encore Boston Harbor and $PENN Entertainment's Plainridge Park; statewide mobile set to launch in time for March Madness
— Ryan Butler (@ButlerBets) January 31, 2023
Raynham Park, a simulcast racing facility about 30 miles from downtown Boston, is set to open a Caesars sportsbook in 2023. The state’s other simulcast venue, Suffolk Downs, could open a retail book this year but has not yet announced an operating partner or timeline.
Massachusetts’ 2022 sports betting law will prohibit any other retail sportsbooks unless on the property of a licensed gaming facility.
Sportsbooks look to mobile launch
Tuesdday’s retail launch opens one of the most anticipated sports betting markets in the country. After years of debate, Massachusetts elected officials reached an early morning agreement on the last day of the state’s legislative session this summer.
The law allowed the five aforementioned retail books as well as online wagering. Massachusetts’ mobile platforms are expected to make up more than 90% of the state’s sports betting handle.
Massachusetts regulators have not announced a formal mobile launch timeline but project books to start taking bets before the 2023 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, the most wagered-upon tournament in the US each year. State law prohibits betting on in-state college programs but makes exceptions for large tournaments such as March Madness.
All the aforementioned casino retail sportsbook partners – BetMGM, WynnBet, and Barstool – are set to go live on the official launch date thanks to their partnerships with their respective gaming properties. Caesars is also expected to start taking bets at that time, though it is technically doing so through a license independent of its Raynham Park affiliation.
FanDuel and Boston-based DraftKings, the nation’s two leading sportsbooks by handle, are also set to launch on the go-live date. The operators entered the market by securing one of the seven licenses allocated under the 2022 sports betting law for operators not affiliated with any of the state’s brick-and-mortar properties.
PointsBet, Betway, Bally Bet and Betr also secured Massachusetts market access through one of the untethered licenses. Caesars is partnered with Wynn for the casino’s second of two online sports betting licenses allotted under state law while Penn will partner with the Fanatics sportsbooks.
This sets up eleven Massachusetts mobile sportsbooks to take bets in 2023. Four more could enter the state: MGM has not yet announced a second mobile partner, Suffolk Downs has not announced a partner for retail or mobile and there remains one more untethered license available.
Raynham Park can also announce a mobile partner independent of its Caesars retail deal. Bet365 withdrew its license application earlier this month, opening up the spot for another potential operator.