Mass. Gaming Commission Approves Vast Catalog of Bettable Contest – NBC Boston

It’s time to brush up on biathlon, brush up on the rules of rugby and dive into professional darts – the Massachusetts Gaming Commission this week approved these events and dozens more as part of the Sports Catalog and… events that adults will be allowed to place bets on early next week.

The catalog includes more than just sports games, however. Commissioners have been approved to bet on things like professional league drafts, the Super Bowl MVP award, competitive food events, and events like the Oscars. And that doesn’t include all the sports that betting companies have asked to be able to take bets on. Commissioners have voted to exclude, at least for the initial in-person launch next week, betting on chess, cornhole, esports, jai alai and much of the Olympics.

“We have the opportunity to come back [to the list]. We know that we will be regularly asked about different events. This is the dynamic, as we pointed out, a dynamic list. We are very lucky that it is robust. I think it’s competitive with the illegal market,” Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said Tuesday when the commission voted 5-0 to approve the catalog.

The list includes athletics, Australian rules football, badminton, baseball/softball, basketball, biathlon, billiards, bowling, bocce, equestrian/rodeo, boxing, cricket, cycling, darts, discus, floorball, football, futsal, golf, handball, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, racing, netball, pesapallo, rowing, rugby league, rugby union, sailing, billiards, football, beach soccer, special events, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and water polo. Each category has specific leagues or governing bodies that are sanctioned for betting.

The catalog was assembled based on a joint request from the three facilities that will be allowed to offer in-person betting starting Tuesday, Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett. The commission staff reviewed this list and eliminated some of the requested events before submitting it for the commission’s approval.

Jai alai was removed from the list because the sanctioned league has an exclusivity betting agreement with a company that does not operate in Massachusetts. Cornhole was ruled out because the professional league in question recently experienced a cheating scandal. And although it has been a source of disagreement between the stewards, the list does not include any Olympic event in which the final result is primarily based on the evaluation of a judge or panel of judges.

Betting companies can ask the Gambling Commission for additions to the catalog and commissioners said this week they wanted operators to get back to them with more information about certain events, particularly the Olympics, before approve them. This review could take place before the launch of mobile betting in March.

One of the main sticking points between the commissioners this week was whether to allow betting on subjective awards, like the Super Bowl MVP. This award is not based solely on the outcome of a contest, but rather on a mix of fan and media votes.

Commissioner Eileen O’Brien was the most vocal in her opposition to allowing betting on “awards not based on statistically measurable achievement, including, for example, Emmys and Academy Awards” as well as the Super Bowl MVP. At one point, she proposed that the commission exclude those from the catalog, but her motion failed with only herself seconding.

Commissioner Brad Hill has expressed his belief that people should be allowed to bet on the Super Bowl MVP, which sports betting manager Bruce Band says is “a very, very, very popular bet during the Super Bowl.” .
“The Super Bowl MVP is like one of the biggest bets you’re going to see, and let’s be honest about that,” Hill said. He added: “If I was a bettor and I couldn’t bet on it, I’d do it all the way to New Hampshire where I could. I’d do it all the way to Rhode Island where I could. And I think our citizens deserve the right to be able to bet on this particular bet, on this issue.”

Although not related to sports, the Gambling Commission determined that it could allow betting on something like the Oscars – which recognize achievement in the film industry – because “under the legal definition , there is discretion as to what type of sporting event is,” Judd-Stein said.

State wagering law defines “sporting event” or “sporting event” as “a professional athletic or athletic event, college athletic or athletic event, college tournament, auto racing event, electronic athletic event, or another event authorized by the commission under this chapter.” except for high school and youth athletic or athletic events, and non-tournament college athletic events that include a Massachusetts school.

With the catalog of events to bet on in place, the Gaming Commission still has some business to settle before legal betting can begin here next week.

The agenda for Thursday morning’s committee meeting includes a discussion of the internal rules of the three in-person operators which are expected to go live next week. No company may take bets unless its rules of procedure have been approved by the Gaming Commission.

The betting law requires house rules to “specify the amounts to be paid out on winning bets and the effect of changes to the timing of sporting events”. The rules must be accessible to all customers and the Gaming Commission has the power to fine any operator who breaks its internal rules.

The vote on the rules of procedure might not take place before Friday afternoon. The Gambling Commission plans to meet at 1 p.m. on Friday and its agenda includes an item for a vote on house rules and a vote to approve the certificates of operations that each holder will need to take bets. .

On Monday, the commission and the three in-person operators will conduct a “soft launch” of sports betting, similar to how the commission opened state casinos and slots. A commissioner will visit each of the facilities to observe how they handle staff and guest betting.

In-person betting is expected to be made available to the public the next day at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 31.

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