After hearing from operators during the latest meeting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has yet to set a start date for the state’s sports betting market. The meeting lasted a total of 2.5 hours on Thursday.
What Could be the Next Best Option?
The momentum of the whole situation suggests that the launch could begin in 2022. This means the Bay State will miss out on the NFL‘s regular season like Ohio and potentially even Maryland.
Joining the sports betting industry is a tough task for many states as some jurisdictions get the necessary support needed during the legislative session. Most of the mobile sportsbook operators looking to enter the state prefer to have a universal start date like Ohio.
Despite only seven permanent licenses being issued, 20 or more temporary mobile app licenses have been issued. The mobile bookmakers that don’t receive a license will have to shut down their temporary platforms and refund all the consumers that signed up in advance.
The online operators that don’t receive a license will have to wait another year. The bookmaker who misses out on the first opportunity cannot guarantee success on the second.
The reason why the sportsbook wants a universal start date is that no platform will have an advantage if they start earlier. Looking at the neighboring state, New York, four sportsbooks started earlier than all the five sportsbooks that came afterward. In a statement, FanDuel noted that operators would be reluctant to invest in Massachusetts just to lose customers later.
Could Retail Sports Betting Happen First?
In-person wagering may have a better chance of launching than its online counterpart. It’s important for the commission that the launch goes smoothly so that the state doesn’t run into a technical or retail error.
The long-awaited process may keep the state from going live as early as possible. Even if the market launches by the Super Bowl, the state will lose out on a plethora of potential revenue.
Football is the most wagered sport in the United States, and having retail locations would bring in revenue for the time being. Retail sportsbooks would be available at MGM Springfield (BetMGM), Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBet), and Plainridge Park (Barstool Sportsbook). Additionally, Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park are also retail locations.
Massachusetts Neighbors Offer Sports Betting
The sports betting market in Massachusetts will be lucrative without a doubt, even though potential bettors across the state will be unable to place wagers on in-state collegiate programs.
DraftKings is also headquartered in the Bay State, and FanDuel is headquartered in New York. Many bettors across the state have crossed state lines into states like New York, New Hampshire, and others to place bets throughout the year.
When sports betting becomes legal in the Bay State, neighboring states’ monthly handles and revenue numbers will most likely notice a slight decline. Retail sports betting would help bring in solid tax revenue, but the state will still be far from its potential. Maryland is a state Massachusetts could use as guidance if the state is going for the retail route in the early stages after launch.