Sports Bettors Place First Legal Wagers In Massachusetts At Encore

Photo: Jim MacKay/WBZ NewsRadio

EVERETT, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Thirty-Two eager sports bettors at the Encore Boston Harbor casino got to place some of the very first legal sports wagers in Massachusetts Tuesday Morning.

In-person sports betting officially became legal in Massachusetts at 10 a.m. Tuesday which means bettors can now place wagers on a litany of sports at the state's three casinos—the Encore, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park in Plainview. Mobile sports betting has not officially launched yet but is expected to go live sometime in March.

Allen Berg, the vice president of trading for Wynn Bet, told WBZ's Jim MacKay in-person sports betting is done at specific kiosks within the casino.

"It's like a self-service betting terminal," Berg said. "You can go up and touch anything you want to bet on, put your money in the machine or use your Wynn rewards card, and place a bet."

Bill Dorazio was one of the lucky few who got to place one of the first bets, he's the founder of a Facebook group called Everything Encore Boston Harbor and told WBZ's Jim MacKay the casino reached out to him to let his group participate in the launch of in-person sports betting.

"They sent an invitation to me for the group to pick 50 members to make the first bet in Massachusetts," Dorazio said. "I held the drawing in my room and 675 people decided they wanted to be in on it and I drew from a random number generator."

DeRazio said his Facebook group was very excited about the launch of legal in-person sports betting in Massachusetts.

"There are so many people that wanted to get in that couldn't," he said. "They kept saying 'if someone drops out put me in'... we could have had 200 people to be honest with you that's how exciting it is for everyone here today."

As for his bets, Dorazio said he plans to be on the Celtics and Bruins, along with the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. He wasn't the only person looking to place a bet on the Super Bowl, Claudia from Lowell placed a bet on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl in honor of her late cousin Freddie was a huge Eagles fan.

"I hope all the money goes to the right places in Massachusetts," she said. "I'm excited about it, to be a part of history. It means a lot to me."

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Berg said he was excited that the state was able to launch in-person sports betting ahead of the Super Bowl.

"You can think of a better time to launch than right before the Super Bowl," Berg said. "You get that build-up of excitement and then eventually the big game will kick off."

Plenty of celebrities turned out for the launch of legal sports betting as well, including former Boston sports players like Ty Law, Shawn Thornton, Cedric Maxwell, and Johnny Damon, along with State House Speaker Ron Mariano.

In-person sports bets can only be made in cash at Casinos and potential bettors need to be at least 21 years old to place a wager. The sports people can be on range from popular sports like football and baseball to more obscure ones like water polo and beach soccer.

Bettors are not allowed to place wagers on Massachusetts college sports teams unless they are playing in tournaments with more than four teams like March Madness.

WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports.

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