Commission plans to start sports betting in early 2023 – Boston News, Weather, Sports

An emergency meeting convened on Friday was not yet enough for Gambling Commission members to agree on actual dates for the potential launch of sports betting here, but they were able to agree on broad time windows for the launch of face-to-face events and mobile betting next year.

The commissioners agreed to set “late January” as the start date for Category 1 sportsbooks, ie the state’s two casinos and one slot machine parlor, and “early March” as the start date for Category 3 or wireless operators. The process for Category 2, which includes the state’s two simulcasting centers, is on hold as the commission awaits more information from those facilities, officials said.

If the target dates are met, Massachusetts bettors could bet on the Super Bowl at either Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MGM Springfield or Encore Boston Harbor in Everett and then bet on the March Madness College Basketball Tournament via mobile. This type of tournament is the only situation where bets can be placed in Massachusetts on competitions involving a Massachusetts college or university.

However, the commission added a number of caveats to its vote on Friday, clarifying that the “late January” launch of retail betting may need to be reconsidered if the staff working behind the scenes to launch bets are due to “extraordinary circumstances ‘ or if significant problems arise in public comments. And the start of digital betting “early March” could be delayed if the Commission receives a large number of applications for the seven mobile licenses it can issue.

“Okay, let’s go, everyone. Let’s make this a party,” Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said after the commission’s 4-0-1 vote. Commissioner Nakisha Skinner, who made it clear that she was uncomfortable with the idea of ​​setting the Commission’s timetable based on the sporting calendar, abstained.

What the commission finally agreed to around 3:30 p.m. Friday reflected the updated recommendation made by Executive Director Karen Wells at the start of the 12 p.m. session.

The debate that filled the intervening hours boiled down to what risks the Commission is willing to take when it comes to speed. For example, the timeline Wells presented Friday assumed the commission would support a condensed approach to third-party screening. But when that discussion arose later on Friday, it prompted significant debate among commissioners.

Skinnner said she was uncomfortable with the Gambling Commission using a less detailed procedure for the sports betting world than for the casino gambling sector. Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said she had many of the same concerns.

“The risk is the same, and so I think we should apply the same rules on the sports betting side that we have on gaming companies,” Skinner said. “If we require licensing upfront, I see no difference. I see no reason to have a different set of rules.”

O’Brien offered a compromise that was eventually accepted by the other commissioners: use the abridged process to start with, but build in a sunset clause that would fall back to the Commission’s more standard and detailed process for screening external providers on September 1 , 2023. This allowed the Commission to refocus its attention on its possible timeline.

At one point during Friday’s meeting, Wells and the commissioners dove into a discussion about the actual start dates for in-person betting. Wells first suggested a January 26 start date, but Commissioner Brad Hill said he would prefer January 18, and O’Brien thought the group mostly agreed on two weeks outside of the Super Bowl, which was January 29 would be.

That date, Sunday January 29th, was rattled around for a while and seemed reasonable to commission officials as it wouldn’t coincide with a busy Friday or Saturday night in the casinos. But then Wells received a text message from an unknown number that raised further concerns: Sunday, January 29 is the date of the AFC and NFC championship games, the competitions to decide which teams go to the Super Bowl, and his own betting magnets .

“If you put it into effect at 00:00 on the 29th, that would actually be extremely volatile,” said Sterl Carpenter, the commission’s regulatory compliance manager, referring to the huge rush of bettors that was expected.

(Copyright (c) 2022 State House News Service.

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https://whdh.com/news/commission-eyes-early-2023-start-to-sports-betting/ Commission plans to start sports betting in early 2023 – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Sarah Y. Kim

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