Sports betting will kick off at 10 a.m. Jan. 31 at three Bay State casinos.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been eyeing the last day of January as a start date for weeks, but finally hammered out the hour that casinos will start to accept wagers on Friday.
“It’s helpful to not do a start time at a really busy time, not at, you know 6 or 7 p.m., because we want to make sure the flow of people coming in is not too overwhelming at the beginning for public safety reasons,” Gaming Commission Executive Director Karen Wells said of her recommendation for 10 a.m.
Wells said the commissioners are planning to visit each casino property when sports betting goes live that morning, starting with MGM Springfield, and then continuing to Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor.
The Gaming Commission is expected to vote on the operations certificate for each casino “sometime next week,” Wells said, and “if all goes well,” the launch for in-person sports betting will take place as planned.
A late January start date was targeted with the Super Bowl in mind, a major sports wagering event that takes place about two weeks later, on Feb. 12.
Wells said the three casinos are on track for the Jan. 31 launch, but there’s still a “little bit of back and forth” in the internal controls and with the House rules. A final verification is also taking place with the kiosks and other equipment.
Sports betting was legalized last summer, after legislation was approved by state lawmakers and signed into law by former Gov. Charlie Baker.
Bay State gamblers will be able to place bets on professional and some college sports. The law excludes wagers for Massachusetts colleges, unless a team is in a tournament.
Online and mobile sports betting is scheduled to go live in March.
The Gaming Commission voted on the preliminary suitability of six operators that applied for an untethered Category 3, or mobile sports betting license, on Thursday.
Bally’s Interactive (Bally Bet), Betfair Interactive US (FanDuel), Betr Holdings (Betr), Crown MA Gaming (DraftKings), Digital Gaming Corporation (Betway), and PointsBet received approval for temporary licenses.
Those six operators will join five others — WynnBet, Caesars, BetMGM, Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool Sportsbook), and Fanatics Betting & Gaming — that were previously found suitable to make up the Massachusetts online sports wagering market this spring, the Commission said.
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