Today might be the day to fire your bookie because tomorrow the state’s three casinos will be more than happy to take your bets on most professional and some collegiate sports.
“The first-ever sportsbook from Encore Boston Harbor will be accepted in the WynnBET Kiosk Room on Tuesday, January 31 at 10am,” wrote a casino spokesman ahead of the long-awaited opening. “Thirty-two lucky guests will be selected to place the historical bets. Immediately afterwards, guests can witness Boston Championship-winning athletes simultaneously placing the first bets on the windows of the WynnBET Sportsbook.”
This week, Encore, along with MGMSpringfield and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, will be offering the state’s first – legal – in-person wagering on most professional and extrastate college sports. With the first bets, Massachusetts will join more than half of the US states that license and regulate sports betting in their jurisdictions.
After the US Supreme Court overturned a 1992 statute in 2018 that prevented states other than Nevada from enacting their own sports betting rules, it took less than a year for half a dozen states to legalize wagering or begin the process to do so .
Signed at the end of the summer by former Gov. Charlie Baker, a sports betting regulation law brought Massachusetts together with neighboring states of Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and New York to legalize a practice that proponents had claimed for years was illegal occurs in any case, albeit illegally.
The difference, according to lawmakers, will be a gambling marketplace with player protections such as voluntary self-exclusion and self-imposed deposit limits.
“As far as I know, there is no bookmaker that will check you into rehab to help you overcome your gambling addiction,” House Speaker Ron Mariano said ahead of the bill’s passage. “There isn’t a bookmaker in the world that will give you an extension of your debt because you have a gambling problem.”
In addition, the state will receive a 15% cut for casino betting and 20% for online betting when this market goes live in March.
Estimated tax revenues are as high as $70 million a year, although Treasurer Deb Goldberg said those estimates could be more than double actual revenues.
Bets accepted on Athletics, Australian Rules Football, Badminton, Baseball/Softball, Basketball, Biathlon, Billiards, Bowling, Boccia, Bull Riding/Rodeo, Boxing, Cricket, Cycling, Darts, Disc, Floorball, Soccer, Futsal, Golf, Handball, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Mixed Martial Arts, Racing, Netball, Pesapallo, Rowing, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Sailing, Snooker, Soccer, Beach Soccer, Special Events, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball and Water Polo.
Bets on college competitions involving Massachusetts teams, Olympic sports or any other event to be decided by a judge are excluded. There will be no betting on Jai Alai due to a league betting deal with a company not approved by the state gaming commission or Cornhole following a cheating scandal.
Herald Wire Service contributed.