Massachusetts Online Sports Betting Gets Official Launch Date

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Feb 26, 2023 07:00 PM
Massachusetts Online Sports Betting Gets Official Launch Date

Legal online sports betting in Massachusetts has finally received an official launch date.

For anyone who has followed the launch of general sports gambling inside the state, you understand this is a big deal. Massachusetts online sports betting has been up in the air for months, facing both setbacks and a lack of transparency.

Now, the wait to find out when online wagering will go live is over.

The only question is: Will it arrive in time for betting on 2023 March Madness?

Here is the Official Launch Date for Massachusetts Online Sports Betting

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced this past week that online sports betting will first go live on Friday, March 10. This comes 38 days after in-person Massachusetts sports betting went live to begin the New Year. And while March 10 has been the rumored date for the past month or so, the MGC only just now made it official.

However, true to form during this process, this launch date isn't so cut and dry.

While March 10 is the first day Massachusetts online sports betting will technically be allowed, select sportsbooks will not actually be up running in time to go live. The MGC has implemented a rigorous screening process, so a handful of online operators will debut after their licenses are fully approved. There is currently no timetable for when all Massachusetts online sportsbooks will be totally operational.

What's more, the MGC is handing out what they're deeming temporary licenses to pretty much all of their operators. This is supposed to allow for a trial period that gives the state both flexibility and the ultimate form of control.

Online sportsbooks in Massachusetts have pushed back against this temporary status, as well as the staggered rollout process, but it's been to no avail. As one of the United States' premier betting markets that has flagship franchises across all four major North American sports, Massachusetts has largely been able to set the terms of engagement for sportsbook operators without forfeiting any leverage.

How Many Online Sportsbooks will be Operational in Massachusetts?

According to WCVB 5 in Massachusetts, a total of nine sportsbooks are in line to receive online betting licenses: BallyBet, Barstool Sportsbook (Penn Sports Interactive, BetMGM, Betr, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel and WynnBET.

This number was supposed to hit 11, but there were some setbacks. Digital Gaming Corp, which operates Betway, was expected to submit an application, along with the $1 million licensing fee. They never did either of those things, so they won't be operating in Massachusetts for the online sports betting launch. With that said, the MGC did note in an announcement that Digital Gaming Corp is expected to start and finish the application process sometime before the end of the 2023 calendar.

Another candidate, meanwhile, bowed out of the running entirely. Ahead of a public hearing this past week, the Pointsbet company informed the MGC that they would be withdrawing their application to operate mobile sports betting in Massachusetts.

It isn't immediately clear if the MGC will accept more applications and dole out another online betting license with Pointsbet out of the running. In recent weeks, they have been more concerned with enforcing compliance protocols among sportsbooks that have been approved for these "Category 3, temporary" licenses. Their initial goal was to have a minimum of nine online sportsbooks, and they have reached that threshold.

Of the nine bookmakers with Category 3 licenses, seven will be ready to accept bets on March 10. Two operators, BallyBet and Fanatics, informed the MGC they will not be ready and do not plan to launch on that date. It is instead believed that both will try to debut their services sometime in May 2023.

Will Massachusetts Online Sports Betting be Live in Time for 2023 March Madness?

Here's the good news: Massachusetts online sports betting will be live for the 2023 March Madness tournament. Here's the bad news: There won't be a lot of time to place wagers before the tournament tips off.

Massachusetts' March 10 launch comes two days before the 68-team field for the 2023 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament gets announced and four days before the start of the first March Madness game. This won't be a problem for some people. Many prefer to hold off on March Madness betting until the final field is set, which will be on March 12.

Still, many others like to capitalize on the futures market. That'll be tough to do when using a Massachusetts online sportsbook. Luckily, bettors have plenty of other options on the table.

Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Massachusetts are already accepting March Madness wagers. Failing that, you can also check out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. Many of these operators allow anyone in the United States to create an account and are also among the best 2023 March Madness betting sites in the business.

So, You're Saying College Sports Betting is Legal in Massachusetts, Right?

There has been some confusion over this topic—especially in recent weeks, as MGM and Encore brand sportsbooks self-reported that they accepted illegal college basketball wagers.

Many have interpreted Massachusetts sports betting law to mean that wagering on NCAA basketball of any kind isn't allowed. That's simply not the case.

Under the current terms, only wagers on in-state college teams are deemed illegal. And even that doesn't tell the full story. Massachusetts residents are allowed to bet on any college basketball team so long as the school they wager on is playing in a tournament with at least four teams and the results don't count toward the regular season standings.

Though this language can get confusing, the overarching takeaway is this: Online sports betting in Massachusetts will be legal on March 10, at which time you will be able to place any March Madness wager you're so inclined to make.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs: 

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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