Massachusetts Sports Betting Slated to Begin End of This Month

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Following a somewhat grueling process, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is nearing the completion of their intial review of sports betting applications and the start of in-person sports gambling could begin as soon as January 31.  This would be a soft launch to review how the operators behave.

The commission has slated mobile betting for an “early March” start.

Commissioners continue to meet and scrutinize applicants.

“After today, we will begin our overall determination of the applicants as a whole and that will begin starting late tomorrow afternoon into the next day and ending, likely ending, on Friday,” Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said Tuesday morning.

Friday's session could involve a review and approval process for house rules and floor plans for the so-called Category 1 operators that will be the first to take bets (Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett).


Late last month, the commission agreed that it would hold a “soft launch” of in-person betting at each facility on Jan. 30 to allow its regulators to observe how they handle taking bets from staff and invited guests. In-person betting would become available to the public the following day, Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Not all applicants received approval.  One casino group that already maintains a presence in Massachusetts has been denied due to its association with a controversial figure. 

Plainridge Park Casino is owned by Penn National, which operates the BarStool Sportsbook.  Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s (MGC) Chair Cathy Judd-Stein, Commissioners Nakisha Skinner and Eileen O’Brien all agreed that outspoken BarStool Sports founder Dave Portnoy's ties to the casino raises regulatory concerns.

"There is a lot that goes with David Portnoy being the main marketer of Barstool Sports and the applicant has hitched itself to that company and to that brand deliberately, to me, delving into what that means in terms of suitability, honesty, and integrity of the applicant. That bears a discussion by this commission,” O’Brien commented.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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