Lawmakers have worked consistently to launch Massachusetts online sports betting. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has issued an update on the current state of affairs, as they work towards scheduling a Mass. sportsbooks start date.
The update also came with a Sports Wagering Milestones chart that showcases all the progress that has been made so far. While no official launch date has been set, this progress update is good news for local players.
Temporary Licenses Debate Slows Progress
The Massachusetts sports betting market remains stagnant due to the issue of temporary licenses. The current rules would see temporary licenses issued without the guarantee for permanent licenses. Commercial sportsbook representatives have been vocally opposed to this.
“A temporary license provision was written into the bill directing the MGC to award temporary licenses to a “qualified gaming entity” that pays a $1 million fee allowing them to operate in the state for up to one year until the MGC awards seven untethered Category 3 licenses or determines a given operator to be unsuitable,” reads the MGC’s update. “While there is a cap on untethered Category 3 licenses, there is no such cap on temporary licenses. This presents consumer protections, as well as business operations, issues for every stakeholder of Massachusetts sports wagering.”
“The MGC has spent considerable effort navigating a model where the legislative intent, letter of the law and operational needs can be met.”
The MGC has been constantly working towards a solution on the matter. The commission has invited representatives from commercial sportsbooks to give their opinions directly to the MGC. Among those in attendance include representatives from the likes of Penn National, FanDuel, and hometown sportsbook DraftKings.
During this meeting, the MGC also discussed the possibility of a staggered launch for Massachusetts online sportsbooks, as well as potentially launching retail operations first. Since Governor Charlie Baker signed sports betting into law, there have been several meetings discussing the regulations.
What Are The Next Steps For Massachusetts Online Sports Betting?
The MGC is aiming to complete the regulations soon and begin issuing sports betting licenses. The application and licensing process is the major hold-up for any advancement. As these decisions are set to impact the launch the most, members of the MGC are taking their time.
The MGC will be hosting another meeting on October 6, 2022, to continue the deliberation on the licensing issue. While it is not directly set as a meeting for the final decisions to be made, local fans should be optimistic that some form of advancement will occur based on the milestones already gained.