Massachusetts Retail Sportsbooks Prepare for Jan. 31 Launch: Ninkovich, Bourque To Place First Bets

Three Massachusetts retail sportsbooks officially launch on Jan. 31, 2023. These Category 1 sports betting licensees will be the first sportsbook to go live in Massachusetts. Category 1 licenses permit the operation of sports wagering in person at legal casinos in the state.

Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET), Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Sportsbook), and MGM Springfield (BetMGM) are set to open their retail sportsbooks Tuesday.

Online sports betting in Massachusetts is expected to go live in late February or early March, in time for March Madness 2023. No specific launch date has been announced for mobile betting in the state by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

These openings will be followed by Category 2 licensees on August 10. Category 2 licenses permit sports wagering in person at establishments that either conduct live horse racing or simulcast wagering on horse or greyhound racing, on August 10.

The three casinos opening on Jan. 31 have successfully passed on-site testing.

Encore Boston Harbor

Encore Boston Harbor is partnering with WynnBET to provide Massachusetts gamblers access to in-person sports betting starting on Tuesday, Jan. 31.  Sports betting kiosks emblazoned with the WynnBET logo were installed and verified over the last week. An “express sportsbook” located on the first floor of the self-parking garage provides 20 kiosks and a 15-minute parking limit for sports bettors looking to get in and out quickly. Finally, there will be a multi-million-dollar sports lounge near the main casino floor.

According to Encore’s website, the sportsbook features more than 70 televisions, including a 10-foot high and 123-foot-long video wall, a collection of trophies, an installation of classical-inspired sports accessories, and a collage of historical images of local sports heroes and events, a full-service bar, and cuisine from Shake Shack and Frank & Nick’s, the second concept by Frank DePasquale and Nick Varano within the resort.

Jenny Holaday, president of Encore Boston Harbor, told the Lynn Journal, “Boston has the best sports fans in the world. We can’t wait to open Boston’s sportsbook and welcome our guests to bet on their favorite teams.”

In addition to the WynnBET Sportsbook’s 10 live betting windows, the resort will feature the most sports betting kiosks in the state with more than 115. The majority of WynnBET kiosks will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Guests can also create any type of sports bet on their personal mobile device using the Encore Boston Harbor website. Guests can then copy the generated QR code and scan it at any open WynnBET Sports Kiosk on property. This service, called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is not considered mobile gambling but instead lets guests create their bets in advance then instantly upload them at a gambling kiosk.

“We’ve created a thoughtfully-designed sports betting experience for our guests at Encore Boston Harbor,” said Ian Williams, president of Wynn Interactive. “Whether you’re placing your first sports bet ever, or you’re a seasoned sports bettor, we’ve thought through how we can make your visit as easy and enjoyable as possible.”

Sportsbook Opening Day Events at the Encore

Encore Boston Harbor will choose 32 guests to place the historic first bets at kiosks. These lucky patrons will place their bets simultaneously with Boston championship-winning athletes and state representatives. Guests can witness the moment from the windows inside the WynnBET Sportsbook.

These athletes and politicians will place the first bets at the windows

  • Shawn Thornton
  • Ty Law
  • Matt Light
  • Cedric Maxwell
  • Eddie House
  • Johnny Damon
  • Angela Ruggiero
  • Massachusetts Speaker Ronald Mariano and Representatives Jerald Parisella and Aaron Michelitz

The event will be emceed by ESPN’s Sean McDonough. Championship trophies will also be on display and available for photo opportunities for guests.

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park plans to have up to 18 kiosks and five betting windows available for sports betting at a temporary sportsbook when it opens for retail business Tuesday. The casino will operate the temporary sportsbook, but it will have Barstool Sportsbook branding.

A permanent Barstool Sportsbook & Restaurant is expected to open in an expanded gaming space at the former location of Flutie’s Sports Pub. Eventually, there will be 20 kiosks and six betting windows at Plainridge.

Sportsbook Opening Day Events at Plainridge

New England Patriots legend Rob Ninkovich, now an NFL analyst on ESPN, will place the first wager at the Plainridge Park Casino’s retail Barstool Sportsbook, following a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Rob Ninkovich
Patriots legend and ESPN analyst Rob Ninkovich will place the ceremonial first wager at Barstool’s retail sportsbook in Mass (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

MGM Springfield

At MGM’s initial license hearing, the casino said it had already built a $4 million lounge that features a 45-foot screen to broadcast games, a bar, chairs, an enclosed wagering counter, and room for betting kiosks. MGM will also offer sports betting at staff-operated point-of-sale counters and through automated kiosks.

“MGM [Springfield], in conjunction with BetMGM, plans to offer a unique combination of betting options, promotions, and offers to create a best-in-class experience for Massachusetts customers,” MGM officials stated in the revised version of their sports betting license application.

The casino has Las Vegas-style sports betting facilities, including two state-of-the-art lounges and a wagering area in its TAP Sports Bar.

The largest of MGM’s lounges has theater-style seats, a bar, and a bank of 40 HD TV monitors. Overall, customers have a choice of 18 sports betting kiosks and eight point-of-sale terminals.

Sportsbook Opening Day Events at Springfield

MGM Springfield plans to greet sportsbook customers with free swag items when they arrive on Tuesday. Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque will place the inaugural wager.

More from the Commonwealth: bet365 Pulls Massachusetts App | 11 Sports Betting Apps Approved in Mass

About the Author
Adam Carter

Adam Carter

Legislative Writer
Adam Carter is a legislative writer at Gaming Today and has been published since 2017. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Arts in English from Indiana University, and a Juris Doctor from Notre Dame Law. Carter also writes for and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he practices as an attorney and bemoans the local sports teams. His writing is also available in places such as Florida English Journal, The Rumpus, and Penumbra.

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