PointsBet Bows Out as Sportsbook Operator in Mass.

PointsBet Bows Out as Sportsbook Operator in Mass.
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) gave final approval for nine mobile Massachusetts sportsbooks (Category 3 licenses) to launch on Friday, March 10 at 10 a.m.

Seven sportsbooks - Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, WynnBET, DraftKings Massachusetts Sportsbook, FanDuel, Penn Sports Interactive's Barstool Sports and betr - each paid their $1 million fee for a one-year “temporary” license. All were approved by a unanimous vote of 5-0.

Two other providers - Bally Sports and Fanatics - each submitted a $1 million fee but won't be ready to launch until May.

Betway Massachusetts (Digital Gaming Corp) indicated to the MGC that it soon will submit a request for a temporary license as well as the $1 million licensing fee. However, they will not be launching in the Commonwealth for approximately one year.

In a surprise move, PointsBet USA informed the MGC ahead of this morning’s public meeting that it will be withdrawing its application. The mobile sportsbook provider was approved for a mobile license but passed on paying the $1 million licensing fee.

Why PointsBet Will Pass in Mass.

PointsBet, a well-established operator, announced it would not be moving forward in the state in a written statement.

“You will have seen the outcome from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting today where PointsBet made the decision to withdraw its application at this time.” the statement read. “We have chosen this path to emphasize our continued focus on our 14 live states of the U.S. (plus Ontario) and how we can best optimize those markets, which provide an immense TAM (Total Available Market) for us to go after.

“We would like to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for their consideration of our application, conducting extensive hearings, and deeming PointsBet suitable for licensure ahead of the launch of legalized sports wagering in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Retail sports wagering in the Commonwealth launched Jan. 31, which was within six months from when former Gov. Charlie Baker signed the sports wagering bill into law on Aug. 10.

Massachusetts sports betting apps will launch exactly seven months from the day the bill was signed. That date falls two days ahead of Selection Sunday and four days before the start of the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament.

Raynham Park Review Continues

Raynham Park's Category 2 application review for its on-site sportsbook is still ongoing as the company works to finalize a preliminary suitability report. That will be presented to the MGC's public hearing on or after March 9.

Raynham Park, which holds a simulcasting license, is building a 60,000 square foot, $28 million simulcasting/sportsbook facility. Plans include a 38,000 square foot sportsbook to open in the spring. Caesars Sportsbook will operate in the location’s current space once approved.

Caesars also has an untethered mobile sports betting license in the state in conjunction with the Encore Boston Harbor casino.

Raynham initially had chosen bet365 as its mobile partner, but bet365 no longer plans to operate in the state due to concerns over excessive state regulation.

The state's former thoroughbred racing facility, Suffolk Downs, might be considering a downtown Boston site for its retail sportsbook. However, no plans have been revealed or presented.

You can find a Caesars Massachusetts promo code here on BetMassachusetts.com.

Violations Continue at Retail Locations

The MGC said Thursday that Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET) accepted wagers on a Boston College women's basketball game against Louisville on Feb. 19.  The sportsbook's third-party provider, GAN, had a “glitch” in its system that failed to remove Massachusetts-based colleges from its list of women’s college basketball games, said Bryce Band, the state's sports wagering director.

No in-state collegiate sports betting is allowed unless that school is part of a tournament-like format with a minimum of four teams. Examples would be the Beanpot College Hockey Tournament or March Madness.

MGM Springfield also had illegal wagering for two Harvard men's college basketball games, with Harvard originally listed on a blacklist document as located in Connecticut.

The disciplinary hearing for these will be on March 14.

Patrons over 21 are allowed to legally wager in-person at the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, the Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) in Plainville, and the MGM Springfield. The latter operates with a BetMGM Massachusetts Sportsbook.

Public Roundtable on Affiliates Set

The MGC announced that it will hold a public roundtable on Monday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. concerning third-party affiliates.

Stay tuned to BetMassachusetts.com for updates on legislation as well as for Massachusetts betting promos.

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Author

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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