First Legal Sports Bets Are Placed at Mass. Casinos

Sports betting is expected to bring in about $50 million dollars in annual revenue to the Bay State, once everything is up and running.

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In-person sports betting officially became legal in Massachusetts on Tuesday, marking the end to a long wait for sports fans and the finish line for state officials who have been preparing for this day for months.

In-person betting kicked off on Tuesday at three locations — Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville and MGM Springfield.

"We're standing here right now on the precipice of an overnight sensation that has been years in the making," MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley said during a ceremony about 30 minutes before the first bets were placed there. "We are celebrating the jobs and the tax revenues that it will create and we are celebrating the multiplier effect this social experience can create for restaurants, for retail, for gaming, for our city's economic engine."

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was optimistic about the sports betting industry's potential impacts to the hub of western Massachusetts.

Sports betting is now officially legal in Massachusetts – and some Boston sports celebrities and lucky Bay Staters just placed some of the first sports bets inside Encore Boston Harbor.

"The spinoff effect is going to be very, very good for the city of Springfield, and it's good for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Mayor Sarno said. "It's another amenity of this unique attraction right here in the city of Springfield."

"We're getting our mojo back," the mayor added.

MGM Springfield hosted a number of other leaders during its launch of in-person betting on Tuesday morning, including Sen. Adam Gomez, Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, along with Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque. The casino's wagering application described a 4,586-square-foot "first-class Sports Wagering lounge with stadium seating, a 45ft viewing wall, as well as an enclosed wagering counter and space for wagering kiosks."

MGM Springfield will also feature 18 sports betting kiosks throughout the resort.

NBC Sports Boston's Tom Giles provides an explainer to the start of in-person sports betting in Massachusetts.

At Encore, the main event was at the WynnBET Sportsbook Windows – where at 10 a.m., 32 lucky guests were chosen to place some of the first legal sports bets in Massachusetts.

They were in good company – joined by former Boston sports icons like Johnny Damon, Matt Light, Ty Law, Shawn Thornton, Eddie House and Cedric Maxwell – just to name a few.

Most of them bet on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl or the Celtics to win it all this year.

One of the first lucky guests able to bet on sports at Encore said this was a long time coming here in Massachusetts.

“I’ve been waiting for this for years," Bill Dorazio said. "I can’t even speak about it because it’s just amazing, I thought it was never going to happen. Even when they passed it last year, I figured how long is it going to take them to get this up and running and here it is.”

At Encore, there will be 10 live betting windows and more than 115 betting kiosks available 24/7. There’s even 20 kiosks for sports betting in the parking garage.

Starting Tuesday at Massachusetts casinos, people will be able to bet on sports.

"Boston is one of the most premiere sports cities in the country, so to be able to finally have sports betting here right by the TD Garden is a pretty amazing thing," VP of Trading for WynnBET Alan Berg said.

Plainridge Park Casino, meanwhile, is hosting a ceremony at 1 p.m. to celebrate the milestone in Bay State gaming, after bets start at 10 a.m. Plainridge is expected to have up to 18 kiosks and five betting windows available for sports betting at a temporary sportsbook, with future expansion plans in the works.

People in Massachusetts will be able to bet on a variety of sports, and even competitive eating contests and competitive entertainment events, like the Academy Awards.

Sports betting is expected to bring in about $50 million dollars in annual revenue to the Bay State, once everything is up and running.

“It keeps people from Massachusetts from having to go to neighboring states in order to place their legal sports bets," Adam Candee of Legal Sports Report said. "Massachusetts is one of the last places in New England that did not have any option for being able to place bets on sports legally.”

The Massachusetts Council of Gaming and Health said it's a little concerned, but eager to see how people do.

"We’re taking baby steps in Massachusetts because we’re able to see how the retail sports books open first, before mobile goes live in March," Marlene Warner said.

Mobile sports betting is expected to begin in March, which will allow people to even use sports betting apps right on their smart phones. There hasn't been an exact date given yet for when mobile sports betting will begin.

Other northeastern states, like New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire, have all legalized sports betting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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