Betting in Massachusetts: Ready for March Madness

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Betting in Massachusetts is almost here. Mass started its sports betting operation with brick-and-mortar but didn’t get off to the best start. However, online sports betting will enter the picture soon as regulators finally circled a launch date.

How Did Retail Sports Betting Do So Far?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) released the retail handle, and the Encore Boston Harbor’s WynnBET accounted for approximately 75 percent of the wagers placed. Which is about $371,000 out of the total $511,000. Betting in Massachusetts is here.

Despite the popularity, the bookmaker failed to take advantage as the public maintained a slight edge. According to the results, the location noted a gross revenue loss of $73,303, a relatively slight loss.

Elsewhere, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park tried their best to pick up the pace but didn’t have much betting volume compared to Encore. Plainridge’s Barstool Sportsbook accepted $83,000 but routed the public.

Not Taking Violations Lightly – Betting in Massachusetts

The gaming facility registered a hold of 64.9 percent, which allowed the casino to claim $54,000 in winnings. Moreover, MGM Springfield accumulated $57,000 in bets and posted a win rate of 21 percent. The outcome generated $12,300 in gross revenue in the first report. The state collected $9,861 from the two facilities by levying a tax rate of 15 percent on adjusted revenue.

Prior to the report, the Commission wasn’t taking any violations lightly. Both Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor offered illegal wagers. According to the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, Plainridge Park allowed bets on a Merrimack men’s college basketball game for seven hours. In the meantime, Encore allowed wagers on a Boston College women’s basketball game for five hours.

Placing wagers on in-state collegiate programs isn’t permitted under the law. However, there is an expectation. Bettors in the state can place bets on schools like Boston College if the schools are involved in major tournaments like March Madness. 

Online Sports Betting Will Launch Before March Madness

Just a few months ago, lawmakers ironed out their differences in the final minutes of the legislative session. Mobile sports betting will come to fruition just in time for March Madness. 

During a meeting held on Thursday, Karen Wells, the executive director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, suggested that online sports betting in Massachusetts should begin at 10 a.m. on March 10th. However, there is still a long way to go before everything is ready. The Commission will be awarding temporary license approvals for the mobile entities in the Bay State.

Additionally, the sportsbook operator will be subject to testing regarding its technology. This process is necessary so the state can avoid delays and other issues.

Betting in Massachusetts To Feature Strictest Regulations

The online sportsbook will be subject to a 20 percent tax rate, far less than the neighboring state, New Hampshire, which is tied with New York at a 51 percent tax rate. Lawmakers believe the business venture will generate $60 million in annual revenue.

The Bay State is also serious about mitigating problem gambling, as many states have taken the initiative to target gaming advertisements. Betting in Massachusetts will feature some of the industry’s strictest regulations in that aspect. Some of the rules cover the following:

  1. Generally or in connection with a particular promotion or sports wagering offer, suggest or promote sports wagering as risk-free.
  2. Describe sports wagering as “free”, “cost-free”, or “risk-free”. If the player needs to incur losses or risk their own money to use or withdraw winnings.

There are 11 online sportsbooks set to receive licenses in the Bay State. These include Bally Bet, Barstool, BetMGM, Betr, Betway, Caesars, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, PointsBet, and WynnBet.

*Betway and Fanatics will not launch with the rest of the group. The platforms will need more time.

Fanatics is On a Mission

A Fanatics spokesperson confirmed that the company would not launch on the proposed date. Regardless of the slight roadblock, the company has goals for the long term. The renowned sports apparel site and brand are working on strategies to expand its reach beyond the Bay State.

With chairman Michael Rubin and CEO Matt King at the helm, Fanatics Sportsbook believes the sportsbook platform can be a major player and number one in the sector. The company already has a massive customer base and has numerous partnerships in the sports world. 

According to the Sports Business Journal, Michael Rubin expressed his confidence that the company will emerge as the leading player within the next ten years. Just a few months ago, Rubin was pleased that the company didn’t win the competitive license bid in New York.

Targeting Market Gains Across the US

Breaking down the statement, Fanatics has spent its time elsewhere by gaining market access in key states like Maryland. With Prop 26 and 27 failing in California in the midterm elections, the company will have more time to gain market access in other jurisdictions.

For Fanatics to conduct business in the state if Prop 27 wins in the 2024 election, the bookmaker will need to have gained market access in at least ten states in the industry. 

The Texas Sports Betting Alliance includes Fanatics as one of its founding members. By forming critical partnerships with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Guardians, the company will automatically gain access to Ohio; the state conducted a universal launch to start 2023 on a high note.

Additionally, the company currently has a pending sports betting license in Pennsylvania. As the year continues, more news will come as the company attempts to make another splash in the lucrative business venture.