Some thought this day might never happen, but . . . Yes, Massachusetts there is a Santa Claus.
Following a six-hour presentation by Encore Boston Harbor (EBH) representatives earlier in the day and an application review submitted by Wynn MA, LLC (WynnBET Massachusetts), the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) unanimously voted 5-0 late Thursday afternoon to approve the first Category 1 sports wagering operator license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts sports betting is on its way, with an anticipated start to retail wagering in January with online coming aboard sometime in March.
The historic vote was the first of 15 retail and mobile applications to be approved by regulators since Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill legalizing sports wagering back on Aug. 10.
Public Meeting #408 by the MGC was the breakthrough.
What’s the next step for EBH?
They now must obtain a certificate of operations and meet additional conditions before retail sports wagers can be accepted.
EBH plans to have more than 120 self-service betting kiosks in 10 different locations on its property, including a proposed but not-yet-approved “Express Sports Book” next to the facility's parking area. It also will have 10 betting teller windows in what is now the WynnBET Sports Bar, but which will soon be rebranded as the Wynn Sportsbook.
"We thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for their confidence in awarding Encore Boston Harbor the first sports betting license in Massachusetts," said Jenny Holaday, president of Encore Boston Harbor, regarding today's vote.
BetMassachusetts also will stay on top of Massachusetts betting apps as they are approved heading into March.
The other two state casinos, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino (PENN Entertainment) in Plainfield, went before the MGC on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, but votes on their licenses were pushed back because of various concerns, including the suitability of Plainridge Park’s relationship with Barstool Sports and the use of BetMGM Massachusetts to manage the sportsbook in Springfield.
MGC meetings regarding those two applications are set to be held throughout next week and the week of Dec. 19.
More information on a universal launch day for retail sports betting will be released in the coming weeks by the MGC.
So, the future of a BetMGM Massachusetts Sportsbook, a Barstool Massachusetts Sportsbook and others remains undetermined.
Setting Up Monday’s MGC Meeting
The MGC announced Thursday evening that it will hold a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 12, on the five applications for Category 3 sports wagering licenses tethered to casino licensees.
The meeting is meant to provide the public an opportunity to give comment(s) on the existing applications. Five applications for tethered Category 3 licenses have been submitted to the MGC: Caesars Sportsbook and WynnBet would be tethered to the newly approved Encore Boston Harbor (EBH) if awarded a license; BetMGM would be tethered to MGM Springfield and both Fanatics and Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool) would be tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.
Keep following BetMassachusetts.com for the latest breaking news and info as well as for Massachusetts sports betting promo codes.