Massachusetts Is the Latest New England State to Allow Online Sports Betting
Massachusetts has become the latest American state to permit sports wagering, including physical and online sports betting, after a new act was signed into law. On August 10, the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act was passed by Governor Charlie Baker, meaning that all but one of the six New England states now allow sports wagering. In the northeastern region of the United States, only Vermont still does not support this form of gambling.
This is a major step for sports betting in the USA. Despite being a relatively small jurisdiction, Massachusetts has a substantial population – a population of almost 7 million puts the state in third place in terms of population density. It’s also a state that is big on its sports, with five major league teams including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and the New England Patriots. All this translates to a substantial possible market for online sports gambling in Massachusetts.
Immediate Interest from Physical and Online Sports Betting Providers
It seems that this market is already attracting interest. When the act was passed, a total of 42 sports gambling providers had already submitted their interest to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. These companies comprise both physical and online sports gambling providers, but it is expected that around 15 sports betting sites will be available to local residents once sportsbooks start going live.
While the act is already in effect, the exact timeline for the launch of sports betting in the state remains uncertain. It is expected that gambling activity will launch sometime before the end of the current NFL season in February 2023, and betting may even be possible before the end of 2022, although this is as yet unconfirmed.
In the early stages of Massachusett’s sports betting, existing physical casinos will dominate both the online and offline markets. More than half of the 15 online sports betting licenses will be shared between the Encore Boston Harbor, the MGM Springfield, and the Plainridge Park casinos, while other gambling operators will be able to bid for the remaining seven. This may change in the future as the next steps for sports betting in the state take shape.
The Future of Sports Betting in the USA – Only Vermont Remains in New England
What comes next for New England? With only a single state, Vermont, still prohibiting sports wagering in the region, we are only one step away from seeing this form of gambling permitted and regulated right across this area of the United States.
Since July 2022, the Vermont legislature has been discussing potential gambling models in the state, debating the structuring of fees and taxes, and considering potential regulatory frameworks. There is still a long way to go, but it seems possible that Vermont could follow its neighbors into the market in the not too distant future. This is likely to depend, however, on the success of the online sports gambling rollout in nearby Massachusetts.