Meetings to be held Dec. - Jan.

Massachusetts to start reviewing sports betting licenses; regulator says rollout is "on schedule"

Gaming Commission executive director Karen Wells.
2022-12-05
Reading time 2:42 min

The rollout of sports betting in Massachusetts is on schedule, gaming regulators said Thursday afternoon. A series of public meetings will be held through December and January to look at applications and allow the public to comment. Each of the applicants will present their case to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at the meetings and field questions from the regulators. 

Fifteen businesses submitted sports betting applications in late November and now members of the MGA are tasked with reviewing thousands of pages as they hope to launch in-person betting in late January and mobile wagering in early March. Three of the applications corresponded for a Category 1 license; five were for Category 3 licenses that are tethered to a Category 1 license; and six were for stand-alone Category 3 licenses.

So far, the first category applications have come from Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino, as they wish to offer in-person wagering at their properties as well as on up to two online platforms. Commissioners will review submissions from the state’s three casinos starting on Tuesday. During those meetings, representatives from the casinos will present their applications to commissioners followed by a question and answer period.

Public meetings will also be held to review the Category 3 Sports Wagering License applications linked to a Category 1 license on December 13-14 and December 19-20. Untethered Category 3 Sports Wagering License applications will be reviewed at public meetings scheduled for January. 

Encore Boston Harbor has indicated it intends to operate two online platforms, WynnBet and Caesars Sportsbook. MGM Springfield wants to set BetMGM up. Penn Sports Interactive and Fanatics Sportsbook are the planned online offering from Plainridge Park Casino. 

DraftKings, FanDuel and Bally Bet are among the six applicants to have gone for Category 3. Massachusetts commissioners are aiming to launch online wagering in March after in-person betting at Category 1 establishments in January. 

Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs, the only entities eligible for a Category 2 license at this time, have both declared they will apply but are not prepared to go live with in-person betting in January. 

As reported by MassLive, Gaming Commission executive director Karen Wells stated at a Thursday meeting that scheduling remains “extremely challenging” for all the commissioners, considering the amount of work on their plates. 

The legal department, as you have seen, has continued to crank out the regulations required for sports wagering, those are currently on schedule. And many compliments to the legal team and outside counsel and GLI for keeping on target, as we are all aware it was an extremely aggressive schedule for that, and they’ve been doing a fantastic job," she added.

In MGM Springfield’s application, officials said they intend to offer sports wagering products in “close coordination” with BetMGM, which they said has an “abundance of experience” in both mobile and retail sports wagering operations across North America. 

The casino in Springfield constructed a sports wagering lounge outfitted with stadium seating, a 45-foot viewing wall, an enclosed wagering counter, and room for wagering kiosks. Projected revenue figures for sports betting were also redacted in MGM Springfield’s application.

Regulators have not yet approved the application, but it did allow MGM Springfield to turn it in 48 hours after the November 21 deadline. A casino official said earlier this week that the late filing was a result of a “miscommunication.”

Encore Boston Harbor said it anticipates a “heavy volume of customers given Massachusetts’ reputation as one of the leading sports meccas in the world.” The casino plans to offer betting at a handful of locations including at the WynnBET Sportsbook, where patrons can access ten betting windows and 29 betting kiosks.

However, the casino will need to hire about 100 new people for retail sports betting, with 30% of those jobs being part-time. That includes a director of sportsbook operations all the way down to bar porters.

At Plainridge Park Casino, officials said they also plan to offer sports wagering at automated kiosks and through teller/ticket windows on a lengthy list of sports, including eSports like Counter-Strike:Global Offensive and League of Legends.

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