Now that the state legislature has finally approved legalized Massachusetts sports betting, the hard part begins for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC): setting up the rules and doling out the licenses.
MGC Commissioner Cathy Judd-Stein said that she believes sports betting could be up and running by mid-November, but that seems optimistic – although retail betting seems far more likely to happen faster at the state’s brick-and-mortar facilities (Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park Casino, Suffolk Downs and Raynham Racetrack), which have a leg up on the process.
Things Kick Off Thursday
This process kicks into gear on Thursday when the MGC meets in the first of three September meetings.
On the agenda are:
1) developing a regulatory framework for sports betting
2) creating a budget to estimate cost of implementation
3) creating a policy for executive licensure
4) determining the process for sports wagering license applications and criteria for the selection process
5) discussing sports wagering statutory requirements
That’s one full agenda. Any one of those topics could take up a whole meeting.
The topic that will have the most outside interest is No. 4, because the legislature’s commitment to only 15 sports betting licenses left the MGC in a bit of a bind. Forty-two entities filed a notice of intent with the MGC to offer services. Not all 42 are mobile providers; some provide ancillary services. But the numbers show that not all players are going to make it to the winner’s circle and be allowed to offer their product in Massachusetts.
The safe bets appear to be WynnBET, which is partnered with Encore; BetMGM, which is partnered with Springfield, and Penn Sports (Barstool), which is partnered with Plainridge Park.
As DraftKings is based in Boston, it also seems likely to be awarded a license.
The state’s five physical sites will each be allowed to team up with two mobile betting partners. This could make for some strange bedfellows as some casinos might choose to team up with companies that otherwise would be their competitors.
This also could be good news for the two racetrack properties that should be able to negotiate favorable deals with online providers desperate to get into the state.
It's fair to expect Massachusetts sportsbook apps to be very popular when betting goes live in the state.
Applicants for Massachusetts Sports Betting License
- 888 US
- American Wagering (Caesars)
- Bally’s Interactive
- BarberTime Media Network
- BetFred USA
- Betr Holdings
- Blue Bet
- Blue Tarp redevelopment
- CG Trading (MaximBet)
- Commonwealth Equine & Agricultural Center
- Crown MA Gaming (DraftKings)
- Digital Gaming Corp.
- FanDuel Group
- FBG Enterprises
- FSST Interactive
- Fubo Gaming
- G3 Esports
- GAN Nevada
- NYX Digital Gaming
- Massasoit Greyhound Association
- Mohegan Digital
- Mojo Interactive
- Penn Sports (BarStool)
- Plainville Gaming
- PlayStar Gaming
- PlayUp Interactive
- PT Services
- RSI MA (Rush Street Interactive)
- RW Bet (Resorts World)
- Seminole Hard Rock Digital
- SG Gaming
- Sterling Suffolk Racecourse
- Unibet Interactive
- Victory Game Challenge
- WSI (WynnBet)
The Fiscal Breakdown
The state estimates that sports betting will generate approximately $60 million in annual revenue. That revenue will be generated first by a licensing fee of $5 million for 5 years and additionally by a 15% tax on retail wagering and a 20% tax on mobile wagering.
Click here to revisit our survey for sports betting preferences among Massachusetts residents. And when sports betting officially launches in the state, be sure to check back at BetMassachusetts for all the best MA sportsbook promos.