Regulators Declare “Successful” Sports Betting Launch

In-Person Sports Betting Now Legal In Mass.

There were no hiccups or problems in the first 48 hours of in-person sports wagering in Massachusetts and the newly legal activity was humming along according to plan, the executive director of the Gaming Commission said Thursday.

“The launch of the sports wagering at the retail sites, at the three casinos, was successful. I have not heard any issues or any problems that have come to light, either technical or otherwise. So, so far, so good,” Karen Wells told the commission at the start of a relatively short Thursday morning meeting.

Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor began taking bets Tuesday after years of discussion and debate on Beacon Hill around legalizing sports betting. Each facility opened its betting windows and kiosks to adults 21 and older, and Wells said that the commission staff will continue to monitor activity and report back to commissioners as needed.

“But other than that, we will now be transitioning to preparations for the Category 3 launch and we’ll have more details on a timeframe and operational needs as we go forward,” she said, referring to the start of mobile and online betting.

The Gaming Commission has not set a timeline for the start of mobile betting, which the commission was told generally makes up between 85 and 95 percent of all betting activity, other than its target of an “early March” launch. That would make mobile betting available in time for the NCAA basketball tournament, which begins March 14.

Tuesday’s sports betting launch drew a smattering of public officials who in many cases put down wagers on events that were not decided this week, such as the Super Bowl, the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup or the Boston Celtics winning another NBA championship.

“To think that because we don’t have sports betting that people aren’t betting is an unrealistic assumption. So, people are betting. All of our constituents bet. I have known a few reps, on occasion, to bet,” House Speaker Ronald Mariano said Tuesday, according to GBH. “But I do think that to bring it out into the open allows us to tax it and takes some of the stigma away from sports betting, too.”

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