Boston's Morning Newsletter
Here’s a rundown of the mobile sports betting rules in Mass.
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TGIF! Remember that our clocks jump forward an hour this weekend for daylight saving time. Here are six tips from sleep experts to help you avoid that DST hangover on Monday.
Before you turn your clocks ahead, set a timer for 10 a.m. today. That’s when all of our phones and laptops turn into little digital sportsbooks, thanks to the state’s big official launch of mobile sports betting. While in-person sports betting began at casinos in January, WBUR’s Walter Wuthmann reports that the apps are quickly expected to become the dominant form of sports gambling in the state. Experts estimate that around 90% of sports bets will be placed online.
- Who’s allowed to bet? Anyone over the age of 21 can place bets as long as they’re within a new “geofence” that runs along the state’s borders. You don’t even need to be on land; the geofence extends out to waters three miles off Massachusetts’ coast. However, it cuts out sovereign Wampanoag tribal land.
- What can you bet on? There’s a massive catalog of college and professional sports to wager on. But remember: while you’ll be allowed to bet on Massachusetts schools in tournaments like March Madness next week, bets on single games involving in-state colleges are generally banned.
- Go deeper: Here’s everything you need to know about the state’s sports betting law.
- Take your pick: While 11 different apps have gotten the green light to eventually launch in Massachusetts, only six now say they’ll be ready today at 10 a.m.: Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and WynnBET.
- Cause for concern: Massachusetts — like many other states — has seen a recent deluge of sports betting ads, everywhere from social media to billboards to, yes, even articles about sports betting ads. This week, Attorney General Andrea Campbell raised concerns that the state doesn’t have enough rules to prevent vulnerable residents — particularly young people — from being “unduly exposed to potentially addicting products” by all the ads.
- Beware the bonus: The Gaming Commission is already looking into FanDuel ads that may have illegally marketed “free” bonus money to hook people to sign up. That’s because state rules ban ads describing sign-up promotions as “risk free” or “free,” since users typically have to deposit their own money to get the bonus.
- Listen: UMass Amherst professor Rachel Volberg talked to WBUR’s Sharon Brody about how to deal with an emerging gambling problem and the resources available to help.
Get ready for an extraordinarily slow day (or days) on the MBTA. The agency announced late last night it is imposing 10-25 mph speed restrictions across all four subway lines: Red, Orange, Blue and Green.
- The MBTA says the sudden widespread slow zones are “out of an abundance of caution” after unspecified findings during a visit by the Department of Public Utilities to the Red Line between Ashmont and Savin Hill. An MBTA spokesperson declined to elaborate any further than that last night, but they plan to hold a press conference today at 10 a.m. with more details.
- What we do know: The T says the slow zones will mean longer commutes for train riders — so give yourself extra time today.
- What we don’t know: It’s unclear how long the speed restrictions will stay in place.
- Wait, there’s more: Shuttle buses are replacing Blue Line service between Maverick and Suffolk Downs due to a power problem. Shuttles are also replacing the entire Mattapan trolley line after “a piece of construction equipment tipped over onto the tracks” during the staircase demolition at Milton Station. (Update: The T said shortly after 7:30 a.m that shuttles were being phased out on the Mattapan line.)
- One more thing: There’s another downtown T closure ahead this weekend. Due to the Government Center Garage demolition project (plus track work), the Orange Line will be closed between Ruggles and North Station — and the Green Line will be suspended between North Station and Government Center.
- Getting around the diversions will require a mix of shuttle buses and Green Line trolleys, as the MBTA illustrates here.
Apple Pay for food stamps? Thanks to a new federal pilot program, local SNAP recipients will have the option of using their phone to pay for groceries in the coming years, rather than just an EBT card. Massachusetts was one of five states selected to participate.
- Why? The feds say mobile payments can help protect families from fraud and card skimming. Gov. Maura Healey also noted that the pilot ensures low-income families have the opportunity to use the same convenient purchasing technologies as other customers.
P.S.— Healey’s budget proposal includes a new $5 million for work on a new MBTA initiative. Do you know what it is? Then take our Boston News Quiz and see how well you know this week’s stories.