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Inside Boston-based DraftKings as MA prepares for legalized sports betting

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission may still be hammering out details about what sports betting will look like in the state, but at DraftKings world headquarters in Boston’s Back Bay, everyone is pumped for the process to begin.

“I think this will be a game changer for people, just like really cutting out that piece of the thing where you have to drive maybe an hour to get to a market that actually has sports betting. Now being in our backyard, I think it’ll be tremendously, you know, easy and great for everyone,” said DraftKings President of North America and co-founder Matt Kalish. “It was always a little strange to be operating out of Massachusetts where we couldn’t offer the platform.”

The Lowell native says the company is entering its busiest time of the year, booking millions of bets per day. The company employs 4,500 people worldwide. At their Boston office, employees enjoy perks like an onsite barber shop and free food, drinks, and video games in the breakroom to keep them going.

Since DraftKings has already launched in other states, Kalish says the company is ready to bring a great platform to its home state as soon as possible

“Will Mac Jones throw for over 217 yards? Or will he have more than 1.5 touchdowns, rushing yards, all these different on-field events, you can predict real time. And that’s resulted in 1000′s and 1000′s of options for players on the site. So we’ll be bringing that to Mass. on day one,” Kalish said.

When asked why people seem to love sports betting so much, Kalish said people like to have some skin in the game, and that has people watching more sporting events for a longer period of time now than ever before.

“It’s that part of your brain that you want to analyze things, predict things, but also, when you’re right, you want to have something on the line,” Kalish said. “They like competing with their friends.”

Kalish says the two biggest questions he gets right now, he can’t answer: When betting will actually start in the state and who he himself would bet on.

“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be working at the company taking the bets, I’d be like making them, right?” Kalish joked.

He’s serious when talking about the consumer protections that will be in place when betting is cleared in Massachusetts, pointing to deposit limits and time-outs if apps are open too long.

“Even in cases where maybe a consumer doesn’t ask for it, we’ll be able to detect, you know, responsible gaming concerns and put a pause on the accounts,” Kalish explained.

With those protections in place, Kalish says he believes when it comes to being a Boston sports fan, the best is yet to come.

“I think it’ll really improve the quality of the experience being a sports fan in the state.”

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