Applications for sports betting licenses in Massachusetts are due Monday, and a senior gaming official said Thursday afternoon that “all eyes” are on the upcoming deadline.
The public will learn next week which companies are serious about their offer to secure a coveted sports betting license in a brand new market. Thirty companies submitted initial documentation signaling their intent to apply for a license, but it remains to be seen how many will actually apply.
At the conclusion of an hour-long meeting Thursday that saw members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission trek through a mountain of sports betting regulations, Loretta Lillios, director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, said “all eyes” are on Monday’s deadline.
“This is an important time for operators. We met with them in groups according to their category. We’ve answered their questions and I know they’re working hard on their applications now,” she said. “And our team is working hard to ensure Monday goes smoothly with this first edit.”
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Sportsbook application is due by 2pm Monday, along with a $200,000 non-refundable application fee. The requests are considered public records under state law, and the commission plans to eventually release them after review.
The document asks about everything from past experiences with sports betting, job opportunities and how a company will “encourage racial, ethnic and gender diversity” to the responsible gaming policies it plans to implement.
Responses will be scrutinized by both the commissioners and staff, and the Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Office will help commissioners determine which applicants are suitable to establish themselves in Massachusetts’ brand new market.
It is expected that the three casinos – MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor – will apply for a Category 1 sportsbook license which, if approved, will allow them to offer in-person betting at their brick-and-mortar casino. mortar plants.
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Gov. Charlie Baker’s state law, approved in August, also gives the three casinos the ability to offer mobile sports betting through up to two individually branded platforms.
Encore Boston Harbor has reached a “tentative agreement” to turn over one of its mobile sports betting licenses to Caesar Interactive Entertainment — though the applications still need to be processed and approved by regulators.
It was one of the first major deals to be publicly announced through initial documents – also known as scoping surveys – Encore Boston Harbor became the Gambling Commission.
The full applications have the potential to further reveal which companies would like to partner with MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park Casino and the two Massachusetts simulcasting facilities – Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs – that can offer mobile betting via one platform.
If mobile betting companies can strike the right deal with a casino or simulcasting facility, they may be able to avoid the competitive process for one of the state’s seven mobile betting licenses that are not tied to brick-and-mortar operations.
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All businesses are still subject to scrutiny by the Gaming Commission, and dealings with casinos, racetracks, and simulcasting facilities do not fully guarantee access if regulators discover problems.
During Thursday’s hearing, Lillios reminded commissioners a second time that “all eyes are on Monday.”
“We continue to work on regulations and other preparations – but everyone is focused on Monday,” said Lillios.
And the commission grappled with the rules during its meeting on Thursday, spending hours poring over a series of seven drafts covering everything from child protection to sports betting equipment and betting kiosks to operating certificates.
The Gambling Commission approved a late January launch for in-person betting and an early March launch for online betting, but left leeway to adjust those dates as challenges emerged.
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Regulators have previously said applications for category two operators – covering Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs – will be due on an ongoing basis as businesses take more time to assess their needs, find sports betting partners and solidify physical locations .