We’re now into week two of legalized mobile sports betting in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
We likely won’t get any updates on how mobile sports betting has impacted the Massachusetts economy until April 15, when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has had a chance to crunch the numbers from March. The Commonwealth is sure to get out to a fast start, though, thanks to the betting frenzy associated with March Madness. Big spending on sports bets is likely to continue for much of the spring in the Bay State as two of Boston’s professional teams gear up for potential championship runs.
The Bruins are first in the NHL by a significant margin, their 111 points through 69 games one of the best points percentages in league history: with 13 games to play, they have a legitimate chance at tying or surpassing the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who set the record with 132 points. They’ll have to be nearly perfect to do so, but one would be foolish to write off the Bruins this season. Their performance has sportsbooks in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts high on their chance of winning the Stanley Cup in June, with their +400 listing at FanDuel sportsbook as best in the league by a significant margin. Be sure to use FanDuel’s Massachusetts promo code if you want to bet on the Bruins (or any other eligible team). Now that sports wagering is legal, betting apps are offering a flurry of promotions for new and returning customers.
Here’s a look at what’s happened in the Bay State since the mobile bookies went live: and a look at what state could be the next domino to fall in the battle to get sports wagering legalized across the United States.
It’s been business as usual in Massachusetts since the launch: not much has been heard (good or bad) from the sportsbooks or the state since the March 10 start date.
The commonwealth dealt with a massive rush of bets in the first few days as a result of both launch promotions and the beginning of March Madness, but that initial rush has died down.
It’ll take some time for bettors and bookies to settle down as the betting economy carves out its niche, but given that Massachusetts is one of the richest states per capita in the US (ranked just behind New York for No. 2 in 2021) expect the robust market to continue.
The buzz around which state will choose to legalize sports betting next has died down significantly in the past couple of years. That’s because in most places the battle is already won: 36 of the 50 states have already legalized it or are in the process of doing so, 22 with mobile betting included, and the other 14 at physical sportsbooks only.
Nebraska and Maine will likely be the next two dominos to fall… assuming that their respective state legislatures can work out all the details and get the ball rolling, which is a big assumption to make.
Sports betting has been legal in Nebraska since May of 2021 when the state legislature voted to approve it and then-governor Pete Ricketts signed off on the measure. They’ve taken their time getting started, however.
One sticking point is that the state only moved to legalize in-person betting. Nebraska has four tribal casinos located on Native American reservations and a fifth casino wrapped in with a racetrack. None of these establishments are currently equipped to take sports bets (nor are they licensed to). Had Nebraska voted to legalize mobile betting, the ease of access of its decentralized infrastructure likely would’ve made it possible to get wagers up and running by now. Instead, Nebraskans will have to wait for the current casinos to be able to facilitate sports betting, or for newer, better-equipped casinos to come in (three casinos are set to open this spring and summer) before sports betting can get up and running.
Maine’s timeline, while lengthy, is less up in the air than Nebraska’s is. The law allowing sports betting passed in May of 2022, becoming active 90 days later, and the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) got to work drafting their proposed rules and regulations that will define how sports betting (legal both in-person and online in the state) can operate in Maine.
The MGCU’s director has been loath to issue a deadline for when the sportsbooks will go live, giving his organization time to sift through the public comments they’ve received on the initial draft. Reading and reacting to those as they implement relevant regulations could take as much as a year, with a likely start date sometime in early 2024.
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