SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Sports betting in Massachusetts is now legal however, only if bets are placed in person.

The State Gaming Commission approved the January 31st launch for in-person wagers and is aiming for sometime in March to debut online bets. The actual start date for mobile sports betting hasn’t been approved by the Gaming Commission just yet.

Former Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill on August 10, 2022, to legalize sports wagering in Massachusetts. Sports wagering licenses are split into 3 different categories:

• Category 1 is for land-based casinos
• Category 2 for the state’s horse racetrack facilities
• Category 3 is for fully online sportsbooks

MGM SpringfieldPlainridge Park Casino in Plainville, and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett have category 1 licenses for in-person betting. Two establishments have been approved for category 2 licenses that conduct simulcast wagering on horse or greyhound racing, Raynham Park Simulcast Center and Suffolk Downs. 

“This new industry will allow Massachusetts to repatriate the revenue and jobs currently being lost to neighboring states and the illegal betting market. We look forward to providing local sports fans an immersive, world-class sports watching and betting experience,” Chris Kelley, President & COO of MGM Resorts International’s Northeast Group.

The Gaming Commission has also found five operators that will be tethered to one of the Category 1 licensees preliminarily suitable to conduct mobile wagering: WynnBet, Caesars, BetMGM, Penn Sports Interactive/Barstool Sportsbook, and Fanatics Betting & Gaming.

The law allows the Gaming Commission to award a maximum of seven untethered mobile betting licenses, which is only allowed to accept sports wagers through an approved mobile app or other digital platform.

The economic benefits of sports betting to the state include a 15% percent tax on in-person wagering and 20% via mobile apps.