Submitted after Nov. 21's deadline

Massachusetts commissioners accept late MGM Springfield retail sports betting application

MGM Springfield, Massachusetts.
Reading time 1:27 min

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted Tuesday to accept MGM Springfield’s late application for an on-site sportsbook. The casino’s application was submitted 48 hours after a deadline set for November 21.

While MGM had its $200,000 fee in by the deadline, it submitted the paperwork after the date. The casino giant was burdened with a separate application process for its BetMGM online sportsbook and a hurry-up application process designed to get sportsbooks approved in January, said Augustine Kim, MGM Resorts International vice president and legal counsel.

“That is completely my fault,” Kim said, asking for the regulators’ indulgence at the commission’s latest meeting, as reported by MassLive. Commission chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said delays were anticipated, calling for empathy by the board. Commissioners had discretion to accept a late application because the license MGM wants is not competitive.

“MGM Springfield is not really competing against another entity in order to receive the license,” noted executive director Karen Wells, given there is a presumption in the sports betting law that Massachusetts’ three casinos – MGM, Plainridge Park and Encore Boston Harbor – would all get in-person operations. “The delay of a couple of days does not impact any other party and no other party would be aggrieved,” she added.

Karen Wells

The vote to accept MGM’s late application was a unanimous 5-0. MGM Springfield built a sportsbook with a bank of televisions and opened it in August 2021, anticipating a law that was still a year in the future.

The meeting also provided an update on the other casinos’ plans. Encore will receive 50 sports betting kiosks next week, said Bruce Band, assistant director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau for the Gaming Commission. That’s 50 of about 124 total kiosks Encore expects to install, reports MassLive.

The commission will host a public hearing on the Category 1 applications — Category 1 applications being from the three casinos — on December 5. Commission meetings specifically related to those applications will be held on December 6, 7 and 8.

The Commission has set a goal of launching in-person betting in January and online sports betting in March.

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