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Massachusetts sports betting set to launch on January 31

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission regulators are getting close to the conclusion of their sports betting applications review. The regulators previously set January 31 as the launch date for the in-person betting in the state.

The commission started the initial review of the applications at the start of December and has carried on for most working days since then.

On January 17, the Gaming Commission hosted a public hearing that applied to all casinos and slot parlor operators that intended to offer betting at the end of the month. The hearing shed light on the list of rules the regulators were expected to adhere to in order to offer the activity.

The commission also conducted a meeting where they concluded the final review of six mobile sports betting license applications that have no connection to any existing gaming venue or slots parlor. The Massachusetts regulator has slated “early March” for the start date of mobile betting in the state after in-person betting’s January 31 launch.

The commission also set January 18 as the date for a meeting which will see the commissioners conduct a vote to wrap up regulations that were subject to a hearing but did not receive public input on January 17.

On the same day, another meeting will be held to start making decisions concerning the licensing of the six applications that have no connection to existing gaming operators. The commission will likely conclude its decisions by the end of the week.

On Tuesday morning, Cathy Judd-Stein, the chairwoman of the commission said, “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.”

Per the Gaming Commission meeting materials, there could be another meeting scheduled for January 20. This could see the commissioners being asked to consent to the floor plans and house rules of a number of Category 1 operators. These include Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. The certificates of operation of these facilities will likely be up for votes in a January 25 meeting.

Towards the end of December 2022, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced that it would conduct an in-person betting “soft launch” at each gaming facility on January 30. This would reportedly allow the state’s regulators to take note of how bets were taken from staff and invited guests.

The three licensed casino operators, Encore Boston Harbor, Plainridge Park Casino, and MGM Springfield, would be involved in the soft launch. As part of the process, they will activate their individual sports betting products and then bring in a number of people, one of which will be a Massachusetts Gaming Commission member, for a test run.

The proceeds from the January 30 soft launch will likely be given to charity. Following the conclusion of the lengthy process for license approval and the sportsbook offerings testing, in-person sports betting would be launched on the following day, January 31.

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