The start of legalized sports betting in Massachusetts brought all the stars out to Boston

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The wait is over in Massachusetts, where, after years of administrative gridlock, legalized sports betting is finally underway, launching Tuesday at area casinos including Encore Boston Harbor. Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was predictably a star-studded affair, bringing countless celebrities to Wynn SportsBook including Patriots alums Julian Edelman, Ty Law, Matt Light and, for some reason, flamboyant receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. Others in attendance included former Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton, former NBA Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell, Eddie House (recently hired as a studio analyst for Celtics games on NBC Sports Boston) and Johnny Damon, who dressed for the occasion by donning his old Red Sox jersey, in case fans didn’t recognize the star outfielder by his familiar beard and shoulder-length hair.

Meanwhile, 90 miles east, Bruins legend Ray Bourque was getting the red carpet treatment at MGM Springfield (which recently hosted Red Sox players and staff at their annual Winter Weekend), betting $100 on his former team to hoist the Stanley Cup at +450 odds.

While bettors 21 and older in the Bay State can now place legal wagers, they can only do so on-site, at least until mobile betting debuts later this year (Massachusetts’ state gaming commission says the plan is to be operational by the start of March Madness). It’s been a long time coming with many frustrated by Massachusetts’ lethargic pace relative to other Northeast states, all of whom adopted gaming legislation in relatively short order. It’s unclear what apps the state is considering for mobile betting, though BetMGM, WynnBet and DraftKings—the latter headquartered in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood—would seem to be the top candidates.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Ethan Miller, Getty Images