A successful start to legal sports betting in the Bay State now has regulators turning their attention to getting mobile event wagering up and running in Massachusetts.
Retail sports betting began on Tuesday in Massachusetts at three casinos. Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MGM Springfield in Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville became the first three sports betting sites in the state after months of work by regulators.
Those same regulators must now nail down all the details for Massachusetts sports betting. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is targeting a March launch for online sportsbooks in the state, which will require unique regulations.
“The launch of in-person sports wagering is a major milestone for the Commonwealth, the Commission, and the people of Massachusetts,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said in a press release on Thursday. “I am especially proud of all the hard work MGC staff and the licensees have dedicated to make this day happen, and I’m looking forward to continuing that work as we prepare for the launch of mobile sports wagering in early March.”
Sports Wagering in Massachusetts launched as scheduled on Tuesday with a flurry of events held at @EncoreResortBH, @MGMSpringfield, & @PlainridgePark. MGC Commissioners were on hand at all three locations as the state's newest industry got underway.— MA Gaming Commission (@MassGamingComm) February 2, 2023
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The work did resume on Thursday, as the MGC reviewed more sports betting-related regulations. MGC Executive Director Karen Wells told commissioners that the retail sports betting launch was “successful,” with no issues or problems reported thus far.
“So far, so good, and we'll continue to monitor and update the commission as needed,” Wells said. “But other than that, we will now be transitioning to preparations for the [mobile sports betting] launch. And we'll have more details on a timeframe and operational needs as we go forward.”
One of the tweaks the MGC made Thursday was to shorten the duration between geolocation checks for mobile sportsbook users. In other words, the commissioners reduced the time between which operators must check to see if their customers are still in Massachusetts to 20 minutes from 30.
There was a period for public comment on the proposed rules. GeoComply Solutions Inc. commented to the commission that it was “strongly” recommending a change to a maximum of 20 minutes on a static connection to avoid creating weaknesses that would allow people to play outside the state.
“20 minutes is the accepted standard in the majority of US wagering states,” said the company, which helps online sportsbooks determine the location of customers. “The currently proposed 30-minute window affords opportunities for devices to be tampered with during the time between geolocation checks, and would present a considerable vulnerability to the integrity of the state’s regulatory model.”