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Sports betting became legal in Massachusetts the moment Governor Charlie Baker signed the MA Sports Wagering Act into law in the first part of August, and ever since then, the MA Gaming Commission (MGC) has been diligently setting up that market for an eventual launch.
Those Bay State regulators are discovering how tricky a process that is, a multi-step journey involving licensing, building a market infrastructure, testing it all, and much more before any resident gambler gets to place a bet, and right now the MGC is taking applications for licenses.
In the meantime, that commission has discovered that due to the wording of the sports betting bill, confusion has erupted around the part that implies there is no limit to the number of temporary sports betting licenses the MGC will offer until the full versions are available.
This was meant to help speed up this process that has proven to be timely in the over thirty other states and DC where sports betting has already been legalized, a choice made possible once the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018 and left that right up to the states.
However, a legislative snag has delayed this already lengthy process in Mass.
In its lawbooks, Massachusetts has approved allocating just 15 full legal sports betting licenses, and eight of those are connected to retail licenses so that leaves just seven available for the rest of the applicants hoping to operate a sportsbook in the Codfish State.
Already there are more than three dozen operators hoping to score a license and that has caused some concern since only seven of them will get what they want, so now it is up to lawmakers to reword that section of the newly passed law in order to make things fairer for all.
The existing bill would have to be amended in the state legislature, a relatively simple process, especially given that MA lawmakers are in the middle of an informal session that lasts until January 2, 2023, plenty of time to get this done if an easy solution is presented.
Worst case scenario is that one or more state lawmakers could object to that bill and that would open up the possibility that the bill would implode, and they would have to start all over, but given how much money is at stake, chances are those politicians will make it happen quickly.
There are whispers that mobile sports betting market in Massachusetts could launch at least partly before the end of the year, a wise goal if those lawmakers want to take advantage of the lucrative NFL season which runs from September until the start of February 2023.
A full launch is expected there by sometime early in 2023 assuming all goes well with the ongoing regulatory process, so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this exciting journey to legal sports betting for Massachusetts.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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