Online Sportsbook Reps Speak At Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Written By Giovanni Shorter on September 22, 2022
Massachusetts Sportsbooks

The ongoing discussion surrounding temporary online sportsbook licenses in Massachusetts continued Thursday. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) invited sportsbooks to the Sept. 22 meeting, where they discussed their concerns regarding temporary licenses as well as a potential simultaneous launch for all mobile sportsbooks.

Sportsbooks Make Their Case

The meeting saw the likes of Betfred, Bally’s Sports, DraftKings, Fanduel, and Penn National among others who all spoke against the current language surrounding temporary licenses. Currently, temporary licenses would be granted to all who apply. However, nearly half of qualified sportsbooks would be forced to end operations within a year should they not be granted permanent licenses.

Most sportsbooks are against this process as it would lead to uncertainty for those applying for licenses. This would also limit sportsbooks’ ability to market their brand in Massachusetts as the ad campaigns could result in money spent for a market that operators aren’t guaranteed to stay in.

There were also arguments as to how this would affect customers who partake in futures betting and how that would impact these wagers.

“Bally’s does not recommend the implementation of a temporary license scheme for all operator applicants, only to have some shutdown post launch,” said Justin Smith, legal counsel for Bally’s Interactive North America. “From an operator’s perspective, this will be difficult to manage. Where, one, customers have already placed wagers on future games, which are usually placed months in advance. And two, where operators will have to manage payments and account balance withdrawals if they are deemed in fact required to shut down.”

With so many sportsbooks advocating against the issue of temporary licenses, it is unlikely that the current language will remain. Sportsbooks also discussed a simultaneous launch for all mobile sportsbooks.

Mobile Sportsbook Look For Simultaneous Launch

One of the main arguments made for the simultaneous launching of online sportsbooks was to avoid a major advantage to operators launching earlier than any other sportsbook and claiming a larger market share than other operators.

The goal is to avoid any online operator having an advantage over others by avoiding a staggered launch. Operators did welcome retail sportsbooks to launching first but opposed mobile sportsbooks being able to launch before others.

MGC commissioners questioned how long it would take for sportsbooks to go live if they are granted betting licenses in order to better understand the timetable for a simultaneous launch.

“Depends on regulations,” said Cybthia Hays, a representative from Betfred. “If minimal to no development work, if you’re talking internal controls, it’s a nine-month process.”

Sports betting in Massachusetts remains an ongoing process as lawmakers look to determine the final rules for licensing. Thursday’s meeting did see progress made as the MGC got to hear from sportsbooks.

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Giovanni Shorter

Giovanni Shorter is a sports enthusiast and writer with a passion for the legal and industry side of the sports betting market. Giovanni got his education from Florida State University where he honed his writing style writing narratives and short stories. He has spent his professional career covering sports and entertainment through articles and blogs and continues to look at the industry from multiple angles.

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