Mass. Gaming Commission Denies Request for Universal Launch of Retail, Mobile

Mass. Gaming Commission Denies Request for Universal Launch of Retail, Mobile
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Bay State is trusting the process and all things are moving ahead to launch retail sports betting in Massachusetts in January 2023.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held public meeting #399 on Thursday and rejected a request by Boston-based DraftKings seeking a universal launch date for retail and mobile sports betting in the state.

Earlier this month, regulators approved the timetables (which could be changed for several reasons) and agreed that in-person, retail Massachusetts sports betting tentatively will be scheduled to begin at the state’s three casinos in late January, with Massachusetts sports app wagering to begin in early March, before the start of March Madness.

The state passed legislation for sports betting on Aug. 1.

DraftKings: Staggered Start a ‘Competitive Disadvantage’

DraftKings Massachusetts sent a letter to the MGC back on Oct 13 to seek a single launch date in the Bay State, claiming the current plan would give retail operators an unfair advantage over mobile operators.

“This decision to launch mobile sports wagering after retail sports wagering would artificially limit consumer choice and consumer protections, stunt the state’s sports wagering market, and put mobile-first operators, such as DraftKings, at a competitive disadvantage compared to others,” the letter said.

MGC commissioners reviewed the letter Thursday. After a discussion, they decided to continue with the plan that was laid out earlier in the month.

Throughout the day, the MGC went through a set of six regulations that together make up the “sports wagering operator licensing framework,” and returned to a revised version of a regulation spelling out the sports betting license application requirements and process. That revised regulation was approved and the six regs that were reviewed are expected to come up for a vote at their next meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m.

MGC Counsel Provides Focus

“Our focus continues to be on the regulations,” MGC general counsel Todd Grossman said in the meeting. “It appears to me that the trains are running on schedule, we're continuing to gain steam here. The framework is continuing to take shape.

“The application regulation, of course, has been approved by the commission. We're going to be momentarily looking at the evaluation process for that application for the award of the licenses, that's obviously a huge step forward. The licensing framework itself, you'll be looking at shortly as well. That's a critical piece of the process, including things like temporary licensure, suitability, the conditions and the fees associated with the awards of the licenses.

“Technical standards are starting to take shape. As of right now, we're running on schedule as we had hoped.”

As we all had hoped.

Stay with BetMassachusetts.com to follow the road to mobile sports betting as well as find Massachusetts sportsbook promos.

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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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