Encore Boston Clears MGC Review for 1st License for Mass. Sports Betting

Encore Boston Clears MGC Review for 1st License for Mass. Sports Betting
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The retail/mobile sports wagering exacta has finally hit in the Bay State.

On Dec. 8, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved a Category 1 license to Encore Boston Harbor (EBH) in Everett to operate a WynnBET retail sportsbook. Then on Tuesday, the MGC voted unanimously to approve WynnBET Massachusetts' Category 3 mobile sports wagering license after nearly seven hours of presentations, discussions and two executive sessions during its public meeting.

Massachusetts sports betting is on the way.

WynnBET, the first of 12 mobile applications to be approved by the MGC, is one of two mobile operators that will be affiliated with Encore Boston Harbor. The other – Caesars Massachusetts Sportsbook – will have its Category 3 mobile application heard later today.

Commissioners put conditions on the awarding of this license, including WynnBET providing the MGC with information on the company’s current vendor diversity statistics and establishing goals on diversity spend in advance of operating sports wagering in the Commonwealth.

“We are thankful that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has conditionally approved WynnBET to apply for a temporary online sports betting license in the state,” Wynn Interactive President Ian Williams said in a statement.

WynnBET’s temporary, one-year mobile license carries a $1 million dollar fee and now the company must obtain a certificate of operations and meet additional conditions, including but not limited to the conditions noted above, before they can accept wagers on approved sporting events.

The MGC has set a goal to launch retail sports wagering in late January 2023, before the Super Bowl, and online/mobile sports wagering in March 2023, preferably before the men's NCAA Basketball Tournament. No specific dates have been announced.

Encore’s retail sportsbook space will feature more than 120 self-service betting kiosks in 10 different locations on the property, including a proposed “Express Sports Book” adjacent to the facility's parking area.

The location also will have 10 betting teller windows in what is now the WynnBETSports Bar, soon to be rebranded as the WynnBET Sportsbook. WynnBET also figures to have a Massachusetts sports app when mobile comes on board.

Next Agenda Items

Along with the Caesars Sportsbook discussion, Wednesday’s meeting also will deal with the discussion regarding MGM Springfield’s application for a Category 1 sports wagering license. Following that, the Commission will discuss a BetMGM Massachusetts application for a Category 3 sports wagering license tethered to MGM Springfield.

Meetings will continue next week, starting on Monday, Dec. 19, with the MGC picking up its discussion on Plainridge Park Casino’s application for a Category 1 license. After that, the Commission is set to cover both Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool Sports) and Fanatics’ applications for Category 3 sports wagering licenses tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The other two potential land-based sports betting operators in Massachusetts – Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs – were given approval to apply after a Nov. 10 deadline. Suffolk Downs has yet to announce a mobile partner. Those applicants have not been submitted.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill legalizing sports wagering on Aug. 10.

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Contributors

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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