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Sports betting is now underway in Massachusetts

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno purchases the first sports betting ticket at MGM Springfield on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.
Adam Frenier
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno purchases the first sports betting ticket at MGM Springfield on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.

Massachusetts' three casinos can now begin taking bets on sporting events in person. This comes after state lawmakers approved legislation last summer. Since then, both the state Gaming Commission and the casinos have worked to get ready for the new industry.

MGM Springfield president, Chris Kelley, said legalizing sports wagering levels the playing field with its neighbors to the south.

"Having the state of Connecticut move ahead of us legislatively created a bit of a competitive disadvantage," he said. "Our guests would come into MGM Springfield and just six miles from the border and didn't understand why this was a benefit they couldn't access here."

Mobile and online wagering is expected to be available in early March.

Kelley said he expects most bets to be taken on those platforms, but anticipates a solid business with in-person betting until then. MGM Springfield ha a sports books up and running, which is expected to generate about 20 jobs.

Since last summer gambling regulators worked quickly to draft regulations and approve licenses to take bets.

During a recent press conference, MGM Resorts president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle indicated Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno will have the honor of placing the first bet.

"Maybe I'll win," Sarno added.

Hornbuckle then said
"We are very excited...I think it's a great opportunity for the property and hopefully a great opportunity for the state," he said.

Those looking to bet on sporting events on their phones or computers will have to wait until at least early March as the gaming commission continues the rollout of the new industry.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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