Massachusetts is late to the game when it comes to mobile sports betting, but the state is expected to make up for lost time when it launches on Friday, and six companies have already been awarded operations certificates.
Boston-based DraftKings is one of the companies that’s been given permission from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to offer online, mobile sports gambling as it moves from the state's three full-service casinos -- Encore, Plainridge Park and MGM Springfield -- to cellphones for Bay State residents.
Cofounder Matt Kalish, who is from Lowell, said he thinks it will be "an intense market."
"Per capita, I think the sports fandom in [Massachusetts] is just like through the roof. It's regularly recognized as one of the best sports towns in the country and I think that that's showed up in our fantasy business over the years," Kalish said. "It's been one of the strongest markets for DraftKings in fantasy, and that's definitely something I'm looking forward to see hopefully translate in Mass."
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The other five approved mobile betting platforms include Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel and WynnBET.
On the day before the launch, the state’s Gaming Commission heard from the Attorney General’s Office expressing concerns over regulations, saying they’re not strong enough, especially when it comes to protecting those under the age of 21 from what it calls potentially addicting products.
"The gaming commission has kind of dipped their toe in the water, but we want them to go for that full swim, said Marlene Warner of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. "We’re concerned about access. We’re concerned about advertising so there’s certainly some concerns as we go into launch of sports betting on mobile platforms.”
Less than two months ago, in-person sports betting started in the commonwealth. The state plans to issue 15 licenses for online gambling, letting people bet on everything from games to tournaments like March Madness as well as events, including the Oscars.
Mobile sports betting is expected to be a great financial opportunity for the state as well, generating as much as $60 million in revenue every year.