Massachusetts reviews Fanatics house rules, approves Betr operations and talks NFL Draft

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A certificate of operations for Betr Sportsbook and house rules submitted by Fanatics Sportsbook passed through the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Tuesday, each measure receiving a vote of 5-0 during the public meeting. Commission members also reviewed and ensured betting procedures and restrictions are in place for the upcoming NFL draft this week.

Fanatics House Rules

Before a licensee can receive its sport betting operational certificate in Massachusetts, it must have its house rules approved by the gaming commission.

An initial review of Fanatics house rules caused the company to re-address a few sections to conform to requirements voted on during an MGC meeting on March 8. Sterl Carpenter, MGC sports wagering operations manager, submitted updated Fanatics Sportsbook house rules to the commission on Tuesday for review and approval.

The commission received the updated house rules from Fanatics on April 11, Carpenter said at the meeting. “There were six areas that needed to be changed. In review, all areas are now in compliance. I found their house rules to be quite organized in a very good format.”

MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein raised one question related to clarifying that credit card transactions are prohibited.

“It says customers may fund their Fanatics account using any of the following methods (debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, ApplePay, online banking, or wire transfer),” Judd-Stein said. “Debit cards are clearly cash but I’ve wondered if the other mechanisms for funding needed to be clarified that could not be credit based.”

Carpenter responded, “In our regulations, we specifically prohibit the acceptance of credit (card payments).” Sportsbook operators can distinguish how a player funds their account and can block a credit card transaction.

“It is correct, the providers can distinguish between credit and cash-based deposits,” said Alex Smith, VP Regulatory Affairs at Fanatics Betting & Gaming, responding to the concern. “I’ll also note our internal controls are clear that we’re not allowed to accept any deposits based on credit.”

MGC members voted 5-0 to approve Fanatics house rules and specifically pointed out that they will be amending the “Funding of Wagers” section to incorporate the reference to no credit card use.

Fanatics will be a Category 3 Massachusetts online sports betting provider when they go live.

Six online sports wagering operators are currently live in Massachusetts taking bets: Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM MA, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET. These six operators handled $548.1 million in total bets in March, the state’s first month of online sports wagering.

Betr Operation Certificate

Miami, Fla.-based company Betr gained some ground in joining the Massachusetts sports betting market during Tuesday’s meeting after getting approval for an operations certificate.

Sports Wagering Director Bruce Band said Betr had their internal controls approved with no major findings or problems with their submissions. Their staffing vendors and non-sports wagering vendors were also approved.

“They have their geofencing capabilities and passed,” Band said. “Player management system has passed. Their responsible gaming plan has been reviewed. The house rules have been approved. And up to this point they have passed all inspections and the sports wagering division recommends approval of their operations certificate.”

The commission voted 5-0 to approve an operations certificate for Betr. The company, Betr Sportsbook, will be another Category 3 online/mobile sports wagering operation in the state.

NFL Draft Procedures

With the upcoming NFL Draft this week, the MGC thought it would go through a refresher course on the procedures and restrictions around the event.

Band and Carpenter explained how the Massachusetts sports betting structure was modeled after Michigan and Tennessee.

“Michigan has a very successful sports wagering structure,” Carpenter said.

Band told MGC commissioners they had met with the NFL earlier in the week on the upcoming draft. He wanted to make sure their regulations and procedures were in place to adequately address the NFL draft and that their procedures adequately protected the Massachusetts sportsbooks.

“Our procedures did in fact meet all the requirements of the NFL,” Band said.

“Our rules dictate when a pick can be offered and when it must close,” Carpenter added. “We are also reaching out to our licensees to assure that they will follow all of the stipulations of draft picks. We are well aware, and we were informed as well by the NFL, that sometimes information can be leaked out. So that’s why we have these requirements in our rules to try and mitigate any knowledge prior to a pick.”

Carpenter added, “The NFL does everything in its power to clamp down on all information for their players. As we have seen this week, the NFL has suspended six players on gambling for violating their policies and procedures. So they do everything and try to do everything possible. They are pretty tight-lipped as our history has shown. It is a hugely important thing to build your team.”

Political Editor

Keith Stein is a freelance journalist based in Virginia. He has experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.