Racetracks, License Fees Discussed at Meeting of Mass. Gaming Commission

Racetracks, License Fees Discussed at Meeting of Mass. Gaming Commission
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held public meeting No. 400 Thursday in its continuing quest to get to the finish line for live sports betting in Massachusetts for 2023.

The MGC met for six hours and approved six categories for the licensing framework for potential sports wagering operators and four of five additional sports wagering regulations, with the exception of CMR 250: Protection of Minors and Underage Youth and Small Business Impact Statement.

The Commission will be getting more information and clarity on that specific regulation and will review/discuss/possibly vote on it during the MGC’s next meeting Nov. 14 at 10 a.m.

Raynham, Suffolk Discuss Plans

Officials from Raynham Park (off-track-betting simulcast facility) and Suffolk Downs in East Boston — both Category 2 facilities — presented updates on the progress of their retail sports betting locations and are close to finalizing partner deals to operate both retail and mobile sportsbooks in Massachusetts. If everything goes according to the process, retail sportsbooks will open in January 2023, with Massachusetts betting apps launching sometime in March.

“I think we're within a couple of weeks or less from being able to publicly disclose who our selected partners are,” said attorney Steve Eichel, who was representing Raynham Park’s owners, during the meeting. “We're pretty close to having someone on the online side.”

The MGC ruled Category 2 operators could submit their applications on a rolling basis past a Nov. 21 deadline. However, that deadline still applies for the state's three casinos (retail) and potential mobile operators. Category 2 retail licenses allow racing or simulcasting operators in the Bay State to operate sportsbooks.

Suffolk Downs plans to have updated information on a permanent location for its retail book soon. Raynham Park expects to have its new retail sportsbook completed in March, with a temporary operation up-and-running in January.

Laws for sports betting in the state were passed back on Aug. 1.

Sportsbook, Mobile Providers Both Must Pay Fee

By a 5-0 vote, the MGC also finally clarified the fee structure for all potential operators. It ruled that every license holder, no matter which category, must pay a $5 million license fee. 
 
Once paid, the fee allows a sportsbook such as DraftKings Massachusetts to operate in the state for five years.

Each retail sportsbook can partner with up to two mobile providers and the MGC ruled Thursday each partner will have to pay a separate $5 million fee if that occurs.

The dawn of sports wagering in the Bay State draws nearer, so stay close to BetMassachusetts.com for any developments as well as for advice on 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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