Massachusetts Regulators Confirm Six Sports Betting Apps

Written By Derek Helling on January 20, 2023
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If you took the time to complete a Category 3 untethered license application for Massachusetts sports betting, you got your wish Thursday. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) gave its approval to all six such applicants during their meeting on Jan. 19.

Exactly when those six apps will start taking bets and whether they will do so in unison remains uncertain, however. Regardless, the license confirmations mean the remaining opportunities to take part in online gambling in the Bay State are growing scant.

Massachusetts sports betting picture comes into focus

These sports betting apps might not be tethered to a casino or race track in Massachusetts but they are coming to the Bay State nonetheless. Untethered in this context means an online sportsbook operator that does not have a contractual relationship with such a facility in the state.

During Thursday’s meeting, the MGC gave its unanimous consent for licensure to:

  1. Bally Bet
  2. Betway
  3. DraftKings
  4. FanDuel
  5. PointsBet

Additionally, the Commission approved a license for Betr by a 4-1 margin. Commissioner Eileen O’Brien voiced concerns over Betr’s marketing strategy and responsible gambling plans as the reasons behind her “no” vote on Betr.

Five tethered Category 3 applicants like BetMGM, Caesars, and WynnBet also plan on Massachusetts launches. Therefore, almost all of the national leaders in the regulated online sports betting space have the Bay State in their sights.

There’s still a chance for at least one more to join the party, though.

Will this be all the apps available to Massachusetts bettors?

For the foreseeable future, yes. At this point, no other operators like BetRivers or Unibet have confirmed interest in Massachusetts. State law allows for seven untethered licenses, so one of those remains.

Additionally, the law gives each Category 1 licensee the option to contract with up to two online sportsbooks. MGM Springfield, one of the three Cat 1 licensees, still has one of its two options left to use if it desires to do so.

That means a tethered Cat 3 license is up for grabs as well.

Category 2 licenses are for race tracks in the state, of which there are two. While Raynham Park has already announced it will partner with Bet365 for online gambling, Suffolk Downs has yet to follow suit. Thus, in total, there is room for up to three more apps in Massachusetts.

Again, no one seems eager to jump at the chance right now. The 11 applicants for online betting should represent the entire field that could launch in Massachusetts soon. The question of just how soon remains.

The exact date for online launches remains unofficial

At this point, there are still two big outstanding questions when it comes to legal online betting on sports in the Bay State.

  • Will all licensed apps launch on the same date?
  • Either way, what is the first possible date for those apps to go live?

So far, the MGC has only confirmed they would like to issue go-live authorizations for online sportsbooks sometime in March 2023. There’s no guarantee that will happen then, however. It’s all contingent on several factors.

Among them are whether the apps are ready to start taking bets even if they have regulatory approval to do so. Betway representatives said in their presentation to the MGC that they don’t anticipate being ready to go in March, for example.

It’s been normal for most licensed operators in prior markets to go live at their first opportunities, so Massachusetts residents should expect most of the licensees to launch as soon as the commissioners approve of them doing so.

In the meantime, Bay State bettors can make use of physical sportsbooks at the state’s three casinos as soon as Jan. 31.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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