A half dozen online sportsbooks are just hours away from launching real money sports betting in Massachusetts.
Sports bettors can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite challenges encountered along the way, the state will have online sports wagering in place before the start of the NCAA’s March Madness — the men’s tournament starts on March 14, while the women’s tournament begins on March 15.
Retail sports betting launched in the Bay State over five weeks ago, on January 31.
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Online Sportsbooks Launching Friday in Massachusetts
|Barstool Sportsbook||Plainridge Park Casino|
|Caesars Sportsbook||Raynham Park|
|WynnBET||Encore Boston Harbor|
Other Online Operators Planning to Launch Later
Officials with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) said Wednesday that a seventh operator — Betr, a micro-betting site co-founded by Joey Levy and Jake Paul — would not be launching Friday as previously expected. No reason was given for the delay.
“At Betr, it is our priority to give our users the best possible experience while using our app,” the company said Wednesday. “As we continue to work to ensure we can deliver that in Massachusetts, we now plan on launching sometime over the next month.
“We want to thank the MGC for all of their hard work and collaboration. This is an important milestone for us and we can’t wait to bring our differentiated product experience to sports fans throughout the state.”
Two additional operators awarded licenses by the MGC, Bally Bet and Fanatics, plan to launch in the coming months; Bally Bet said it will do so in May. Meanwhile, Betway announced that it won’t launch in Massachusetts until 2024, and bet365 has scuttled its plans to launch with Raynham Park, one of the state’s two horse racetracks. Raynham Park is now partnered with Caesars.
PointsBet, which applied for one of seven standalone licenses the MGC is authorized to issue, withdrew its application before it needed to pay state regulators its licensing fee.
Delays Pushed Massachusetts Sports Betting in 2023
Sports betting is off to a rocky start in the Bay State.
Lawmakers had hoped to have sports betting up and running before the start of the 2022 NFL season, but then saw a potential launch date get pushed into 2023. Delays would push Super Bowl LVII, which was held of February 12, out of reach as well.
Supporters of sports betting were likely disappointed that despite an initial buzz in interest, MGC ultimately received just 12 applications for a Category 3 operator’s license — three less than the 15 licenses the regulator may to award.
Raynham Park and the other horse racetrack in the state, Suffolk Downs, may both apply for a Category 2 license, which allows each of them to have one online skin.
BetMGM, FanDuel Clinch Lucrative Partnerships
Two operators have already agreed to plum partnerships in Massachusetts to promote their brands.
BetMGM announced Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with MLB’s Boston Red Sox. Under the deal, BetMGM signage will be featured throughout Fenway Park and on what is arguably the most iconic sports feature in all of New England — the left field wall of Fenway, better known as the Green Monster.
The operator, a 50-50 joint venture between Entain and MGM Resort International, now has two such plum partnerships in hand — it agreed to a multi-year marketing partnership with the companies that manage Madison Square Garden in New York in November 2021.
Meanwhile, FanDuel and the New England Sports Network (NESN) announced a separate partnership on Monday. The agreement calls for commercials, in-game sponsorship integrations, and pre-game features on the regional sports network, which broadcasts Red Sox games as well as matches featuring the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
FanDuel will also partner with NESN’s sports wagering site, NESNBets.com.
BetMGM is tethered to the land-based casino license of MGM Springfield, while FanDuel has a standalone license.