Feb 1, 2023 - Sports

The first (legal) bets in Massachusetts

Former Olympic hockey player Angela Ruggiero (center) shows her ticket alongside former Red Sox player Johnny Damon (right) by Encore's betting windows. On the left is Rep. Aaron Michlewitz.

Olympian turned market research executive Angela Ruggiero (center) shows off her first bet, alongside other local champions and legislators. Photo: Encore Boston Harbor

Steph here. I watched sports fans, loyal Encore customers and iconic athletes place their first legal sports bets in the Boston area.

Why it matters: For sports fans and casino regulars, yesterday’s launch was the culmination of a years-long wait.

  • “It’s amazing. It’s long overdue,” says Bill Dorazio Sr., a Tewksbury native who runs the Everything Encore Boston Facebook group.

The intrigue: The first players ranged from Dorazio and other Encore regulars to former New England Patriots cornerback Ty Law and Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano.

💰 The bets that made history

Dorazio bet twice on the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl.

  • One was a money line bet, based solely on the outcome, and another was a point spread, a bet based on the margin of victory.

Mariano, who represents Quincy, made two $50 bets: one that the Celtics would win the NBA Finals, and another that the Bruins would take home the Stanley Cup.

State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, the House’s budget chief, made a $50 parlay bet on both the Celtics winning the Finals and the Bruins winning the championship. The bet only pays off if both teams win.

  • “In other words, he threw his money away,” Mariano quipped after Michlewitz explained the wager to me.

Angela Ruggiero, former Olympic hockey player and co-founder of Sports Innovation Lab, made a $50 bet on the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup.

Law placed a $1,000 bet on the Celtics winning the NBA Finals.

  • He also put down $240 on the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl.

Then came Julian Edelman. The former Patriots wide receiver showed up to Encore last night handcuffed to his briefcase.

  • He made an $11,000 bet on the Celtics winning the championship.
  • When I asked him if he consulted his parents this time, he said no and looked into the cameras. “So, dad…sorry.”

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