Massachusetts Sports Betting Won’t Start by NFL Week 4, Regulators Caution
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: A general view of the Patriots logo at Gillette Stadium.
Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners, during a recent meeting, shut down notions that Bay Staters will be legally betting on sports by October.
“Some think we may be able to take a bet in three weeks at brick and mortar casinos or simulcasting facilities. That’s obviously not going to happen,” Commissioner Brad Hill said Thursday.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been working to fast-track a sports betting launch even before the state legalized it in August. But while those eager to begin betting have speculated a quick turnaround, the commission has urged patience with its regulatory process.
Hill called out Boston sports talk radio show “Toucher and Rich” for a recent segment he said erroneously insinuated sports betting would be live by Week 4 of the NFL season, when the Green Bay Packers host the New England Patriots.
His remarks indicated betting won’t be live for at least a few more months — and it could take even longer.
The commission signaled it will begin drafting regulations for sports betting license applications. Once those are finalized, it’ll be a huge step towards launch, but commissioners once again urged they’ll likely take their time to get things right.
“The word is out that you can bet right now, or you can bet in two weeks. No. I want to provide consumer protections for those interested in betting,” said Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein.
The commission also approved an annual $2.1 million budget to regulate sports betting, which will be made up of 12 full-time employees and 6 part-time employees.
The commission’s still weighing whether to allow casinos, which are already background checked, to start betting before the online market. That would fast-track a launch, but commissioners have expressed hesitancy about giving certain operators a leg up by starting first.
Last week over 42 companies filed notices of intent with the commission, which it had asked for as a way of gaging the market.
Licensing will be competitive, as the state will only allow up to 15 online sports betting operators under its authorizing bill.
The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12, when they’ll likely provide an update on the draft regulations.