Massachusetts sports betting was legalized just under a month ago, but eager locals are already laying the pressure on gaming officials to move forward with a speedy launch.
Residents Anticipate 2022 Launch
While some states have successfully rolled out domestic sportsbook options in a matter of months, others have taken years. Noting the lengths it took to just get betting legislation passed in the Bay State, some fear that a debut will be delayed until 2023.
The timing would not be ideal for anyone. All parties lose by missing out on huge revenues from NFL and FIFA betting. That considered, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is taking proactive action to grasp the scope of operator interest.
Last month, commissioners asked that businesses interested in hosting sportsbook services submit a notice of intent form. The document asks questions about the applicant’s previous licensing and goals for the operation.
The commission closed its submissions on Wednesday, announcing the names of the potential vendors and licensees on Thursday. With more than 40 interested parties, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has much deliberation ahead.
Types Of MA Sportsbook Licensing
Sportsbook licensing in the state will be spread across the following three categories:
Category One: Massachusetts’ three casinos and slot parlors will each be eligible to host retail and online wagering options. Operators with this type of licensing have the privilege of teaming up with no more than two legal mobile sports betting app brands.
Category Two: Licensing for horse racing and simulcasting providers is a bit more restrictive than that of casinos. Operators with this type of licensing will also be able to host retail and digital betting options. However, online wagering partnerships are limited to one brand.
Category Three: Operators lucky enough to get their hands on this type of licensing will be able to host online and mobile betting services as a standalone business. Without the need for revenue sharing with a local gambling partner, it is the most valuable option of the three. However, only seven of these coveted licenses will be made available.
What Comes Next For Legal Betting
In a comment to reporters from MassLive, gambling attorney Daniel Wallach explained that the Category Three licensing could open up several doors for small-scale sportsbook operations. Speaking ambitiously of the newly legal sports betting state, he says,
“This is one of the few states that provides a point of entry for startup companies. Massachusetts will attract your fair share of start-ups and smaller companies that are looking for a foothold in the online gaming component.”
Wallach’s vision for the future will all depend on the criteria set by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Mega-groups like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM already have a foot in the door and are no strangers to competition.
Gaming officials could easily decide that the state sports betting revenues are of greater priority than propping up local businesses. And they wouldn’t be the first state to do it.
The commission has highlighted 225 topics for discussion and regulation, meaning that they have a lot of work on the table. All things considered, residents will have to wait a while before an official timeline for launch is announced.