Massachusetts Has a Mess in Sports Betting
The state of Massachusetts has legalized sports betting, but the state doesn’t appear to be any closer to setting a firm launch date. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been working on getting that date set, but it has also been seeking input from key industry stakeholders.
The MGC has been pressured to at least set a potential launch date, but one wasn’t set during the meeting on Thursday. There were representatives from over 20 different operators that attended the meeting, and several different ideas were thrown out.
DraftKings and FanDuel were among the biggest names at the meeting, and those two competitors were in agreement on most of the key issues. The MGC was fielding questions on how to launch the industry as well as how to approve licenses.
There are three different sports betting licenses available in Massachusetts, but the big companies are all focused on the mobile licenses. Massachusetts will offer mobile licenses as a standalone license or ones that are tethered to a casino.
The MGC also questioned operators about what would take place if a sportsbook is forced to shut down and stop accepting wagers in the state. Recently, TwinSpires left the U.S. sports betting market and it created some problems in other markets.
The result of this meeting was not what most were hoping for when it started as everyone was simply looking for a firm timeline. Massachusetts is losing out on millions of dollars each week that passes by, especially during the NFL season.
Universal Launch Coming
While there were some disagreements between operators at points during the meeting, there was one issue in which nearly all operators agreed. The operators prefer that Massachusetts announce a universal launch date as opposed to letting sportsbooks launch on a rolling basis.
DraftKings and FanDuel both pointed to state with a launch date on a rollout plan and have noted how unfair that process has been. Not only do sportsbooks prefer one set launch date for operators, but they also favor launching both mobile and retail betting at the same time.
This doesn’t have to be the plan that Massachusetts goes with in the end, but it could potentially upset operators if it’s done a different way.
Law Has Flaws
When the sports betting bill was passed in the state of Massachusetts, lawmakers inadvertently created a problem that the MGC now has to deal with. There can be just seven mobile licenses handed out, but there is no cap put on the number of temporary licenses.
Most states allow for temporary licenses as a way to launch sports betting quicker, but the MGC has not decided how it wants to proceed. One course of action would be to limit the number of temporary licenses to seven while another option would give the MGC the power to offer up an unlimited amount of these.
This was another issue that most operators agreed upon and it was suggested that capping the number of temporary licenses to seven was the best way to proceed.
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