Sports Betting Picture Getting Clearer in Massachusetts
November 14, 2022
As recently as a month ago, it wasn’t clear whether residents in Massachusetts would be able to legally bet on the NFL playoffs and or Super Bowl LVII. At issue was the Massachusetts Gambling Commission’s (MGC) inability to make decisions about licensing of sports betting operators and when and how to roll out the state’s sports betting access. After an impressive turnaround, it now looks as though betting on the Super Bowl is a real possibility.
Just this past week, the names of several potential retail and mobile sports betting operators moved to the forefront. As a reminder, Massachusetts legislation authorized the state’s three casinos and two racetracks to accept retail sports bets. Additionally, these five entities could combine to partner with as many as eight (8) different online/mobile sports betting “skins.” Also, seven (7) licenses are scheduled to be awarded to top U.S. mobile sports betting operators.
And the Winners Will Be
While the MGC has yet to make any official announcements related to the licensing process, the names of several bit players have come to light. At this point, it is almost sure that the state’s three casinos will run their retail sports betting operations through in-house ownership. As a reminder, the three casinos are owned by at least in part either BetMGM, Barstool Sports, or WynnBET, all prominent U.S. retail/mobile sports betting operators.
No mention has been made of where the state’s racetracks might go for their sports betting operations. Plausible candidates include Caesars Sportsbook, Fanduel, BetRivers, and DraftKings.
Of the operators that have submitted applications and are awaiting license confirmation, DraftKings would have to be considered a leading contender both as a retail and mobile option. The advantage this bookmaker has is the company is actually headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. That would make them a hometown favorite among sports bettors in “Beantown.”
It is worth noting that DraftKings recently used its preferred status to question one of the MGC’s recent decisions. That took place when DraftKings management sent a letter of protest regarding the commission’s decision to roll out retail sports betting in the first month with mobile sports betting to be rolled out the next month. In the eyes of DraftKings’ management, this was intended to give casinos and racetracks an unfair advantage. At this time, that is still the direction in which the MGC is moving, barring any last-minute changes of heart.
Moving forward, it would seem that retail bookmakers will be pushing for an early January 2023 start. That would allow Massachusetts sports bettors to wager on earlier rounds of the NFL playoffs. If mobile operators were relegated to starting a month later, they would certainly want to push for early February, just in time for the Super Bowl.
Should the MGC be good with these starting dates, it looks like operators will be ready to roll. All evidence suggests that casinos and racetracks have already started the development of their future sports betting facilities. Likewise, mobile operators have shown the ability to jump in a matter of days.