Boston Red Sox

How Will Legal Sports Betting in Mass. Impact the Start of Baseball Season

Industry experts say the rise in legal sports betting could have a major impact on major league baseball

Fans won't just be watching this year as a new baseball season kicks off at Fenway Park on Thursday —now, they'll be betting as well.

This is the first Opening Day since sports betting has been legalized in Massachusetts, with sports fans now able to bet on their phones or at one of the state's casinos.



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"My first legal bet in the state was Red Sox to make the playoffs," well-known sports content personality Jared Carrabis of DraftKings said. "Yes. There you go. Now you have something to look forward to for the entire season."

Legalized sports betting rolled out at MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino at the end of January, and mobile sports betting began earlier this month.

The new industry generated over $2 million in taxable sports wagering revenue in February alone, just at the physical locations.

"It's been everything we hoped for and more," VP of Casino Operations at MGM Springfield Robert Westerfield said. "The public has really taken to it."

MGM Springfield is ready for more action on Opening Day.

"We're we're expecting pretty good crowds," Westerfield siad. "We've had pretty good action leading up to this with what we call future bets."

While experts from don't foresee baseball racking up quite the same numbers as the Super Bowl or March Madness, they say the interest is there, and it will only boost fan engagement.

"You're going to hear a lot of cheers at Fenway this year at awkward moments that don't necessarily have to do with the game," Senior Analyst at Bill Speros said. "But might have to do with somebody getting their second hit, someone hitting a home run."

The website used search engine history to rank the state's largest cities on interest in sports betting. Cambridge came out on top, with Quincy and Fall River following.

That's ahead of what could be a game-changing year for the MLB, as more states adopt legalized sports betting.

"You have a whole half the league where they're out of it by May, June," Carrabis said. "Can we get those baseball fans to still pay attention? Through sports betting? That's my question."

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