Massachusetts regulators deem retail sports betting debut a success; focus now set on mobile launch

The Executive Director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Karen Wells, described the state’s sports betting launch as “successful” on Thursday. Last week, Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor made sports betting history by opening betting windows and kiosks to adults 21 and older.

The launch of sports wagering at the retail sites, at the three casinos, was successful. I have not heard of any issues or problems that have come to light, either technical or otherwise. So far, so good,” Karen Wells told the commission at a Thursday morning meeting, as reported by 7News Boston.

There were no hiccups or problems in the first 48 hours of in-person sports wagering, which came after years of discussion and debate on Beacon Hill around legalizing the practice. Wells said that the commission staff would continue monitoring activity and report to commissioners as needed.

Karen Wells, the Executive Director of the Gaming Commission.

“But other than that, we will now be transitioning to preparations for the Category 3 launch, and we’ll have more details on a timeframe and operational needs as we go forward,” she said, referring to the start of mobile and online betting.

The Gaming Commission has not set a timeline for the start of mobile betting yet, which the commission was told generally makes up between 85% and 95% of all betting activity, other than its target of an “early March” launch.

That would make mobile betting available in time for the NCAA basketball tournament, which begins March 14. Tuesday’s sports betting launch drew a smattering of public officials who, in many cases, put down wagers on events that were not decided this week, such as the Super Bowl, the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup, or the Boston Celtics winning another NBA championship.

To think that people aren’t betting because we don’t have sports betting is an unrealistic assumption. So, people are betting. All of our constituents bet. I have known a few reps, on occasion, to bet,” House Speaker Ronald Mariano said Tuesday, according to the above-mentioned media. “But I do think bringing it out into the open allows us to tax it and takes some of the stigmas away from sports betting, too.”