Sports Wagering in Mass. Could Happen as Early as the Fall, Lesser Says

The Gaming Commission is not waiting for Gov. Charlie Baker's signature and plans a meeting Thursday morning to begin discussing how it will approach sports betting

One of the senators who negotiated a last-minute compromise to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts told sports fans and bettors Tuesday afternoon that he expects they will be able to plunk down some cash on the New England Patriots this season.

Talking to the Zolak & Bertrand show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Sen. Eric Lesser said he "expect[s] and hope[s]" that Gov. Charlie Baker will sign the betting bill this week (the governor has until Aug. 11) and then it will be up to the Mass. Gaming Commission to write regulations and begin issuing betting licenses.

"And they've told us in the past that it'll take about 90 days for them to do that. We've been actively kind of talking to them and they've been following along so they should be basically up to speed on all the different components," Lesser said. "So you're talking about maybe October that the whole thing could be up and running. So you know, pretty soon, and definitely for the fall football season."

The Gaming Commission is not waiting for Baker's signature and plans a meeting Thursday morning to begin discussing how it will approach sports betting. The agenda calls for an overview of the regulatory process and timeline, a description of the commission's investigatory plan, a vote on a draft licensing application outline, and a vote on a new chief of sports wagering position within the agency.

The state's casinos have already identified and built out spaces for sports books and Lesser agreed Tuesday with co-host Marc Bertrand that those facilities could be among the first to get up and running given that they are already known to the Gaming Commission.

"The Gaming Commission is going to be able to give provisional licenses and I think definitely the known players will have some level of advantage, right, because they kind of know the process, they've been through background checks for the brick and mortars at least back in 2011," the senator, who has previously said he is not a bettor, said. "So they might be able to get that up and running quick."

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