Massachusetts sees no stumbling blocks for mobile sports betting launch March 10

Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch Date

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved nine category 3 temporary licenses on Thursday that will launch mobile sports betting in the state on March 10, but only seven operators will go live on that date.

After reviewing 11 applications, MGC Executive Director Karen Wells, determined that all are qualified gaming entities and authorized them to conduct sports wagering for a period of one year in the state, “or until a final determination on its operator license application is made.” Wells also made note that only nine of the 11 applicants will go live in Massachusetts. PointsBet withdrew its application and Betway is delaying its launch by possibly a year.

Wells also verified each applicant paid the sports wagering initial licensing fee of $1 million.

The following sports wagering operators have been approved to launch online/mobile betting in Massachusetts on March 10:

  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • Bally’s Interactive (approved to launch March 10, but will not launch until May)
  • BetMGM MA Sportsbook
  • Betr
  • DraftKings MA Sportsbook
  • Fanatics (approved to launch March 10, but will not launch until May)
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • WynnBet

The commission was upbeat on how things were proceeding toward March 10.

“Geolocation testing, reviews of internal controls, things seem to be going well,” Wells said. “We are very confident in that ability to allow the licensees to launch on the 10th, that are ready to go.”

“Everything seems to be moving forward very smoothly,” said Bruce Band, director of Sports Wagering.
“The geofencing is going well, general control seems to be going much smoother than before, house rules are moving forward. I don’t really see at this point any stumbling blocks.”

Raynham Park contract with Caesars

In addition to the mobile licenses, the commission is reviewing a category 2 retail sportsbook betting permit for Rayntham Park which will have Caesars Sportsbook operating at their location. Rayntham Park is a simulcast-wagering facility located south of Boston.

Commission members want to take a close look at the partnership between the two since it is different than the other three retail locations already operating in the state.

“This particular application is different in one respect from the other retail, the three retail applications that you’ve seen so far,” Loretta Lillios toward the commission. Lillios is the director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) which reviews sports operators for the state. “The applicant here has entered into a contract with Caesars where the applicant is acting largely as a landlord and Caesars is acting largely as an operator.”

Lillios continued, “We have the contract in hand. I’m suggesting that the IEB and the legal division review the contract and that the commissioners have the opportunity to take a look at the contract as well. I could use some commissioner input, would be helpful as to whether to move forward and deal with Caesars as a vendor to the applicant or as a qualifier to the applicant, for instance.”

The commission has set up meetings at a later date to review the partnership between Rayntham Park and Caesars.

Originally, U.K.-based Bet365 was seeking a mobile sports betting license in Massachusetts that would have been tied to Raynham Park. But the company recently withdrew its application from Massachusetts, ahead of Pointsbet withdrawing its application.

After withdrawing from Massachusetts, Bet365 launched sports betting services in Virginia.

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.