Fenway Park

Retail sports betting first, then online

Massachusetts has finally joined most of its neighbors, as its legal sports betting market has gone live. As of 10:00am Tuesday, people located within the borders of the Commonwealth can place bets at one of three brick-and-mortar casinos: Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino. All just in time for the Super Bowl in a couple weeks.

Each casino has partnered with a sports betting operator for its retail sportsbook. Encore Boston Harbor is working with WynnBet, MGM Springfield, naturally, with BetMGM, and Plainridge Park has joined with Barstool Sportsbook.

Unfortunately for potential bettors, online sports wagering has yet to launch. On the bright side, though, it is on track for early March, before the NCAA basketball tournaments, popularly known as March Madness. That sports betting is and will be available in time for both the Super Bowl and March Madness is huge for Massachusetts, as they are the two most popular annual betting events in the US.

A total of 11 online sportsbooks have confirmed that they will launch in March. Betway is the only one of note that has said it will be a bit tardy. There will be a fourth retail sports betting location – Raynham Park, a simulcast venue, will have a 30,000-square-foot sportsbook, operated by Caesars. It will open some time in the spring.

The rules offer no surprises

As is the case just about everywhere in the country, people must be at least 21 years old to place a bet in Massachusetts. And, as usual, retail locations will have both betting windows and self-serve kiosks. One interesting amenity is at Encore Boston Harbor, where an Express Sportsbook will be on the first floor of the parking garage, allowing people to park for up to 15 minutes if they just want to place a quick wager and get out of there. Bet and go, if you will.

There shouldn’t be much in the way of surprises with Massachusetts sports betting. People can bet on most sports; a few notable exceptions include eSports, chess, and some Olympic events, but those could be added in the future. Some special events like the Oscars are also permitted.

The biggest exception comes into play with college sports. College sports betting is legal, but in-state teams are off limits, unless they are competing in a postseason tournament (hint: March Madness).

The usual bet types are also legal, such as point spread, moneyline, parlays, teasers, futures, prop bets, over/under totals, and live betting.

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