Massachusetts Voters Reject Plans For New Horse Track

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on January 12, 2023
Plans for a new horse racetrack in Hardwick were shutdown by residents

Massachusetts will not be getting another racecourse anytime soon. Voters in Hardwick, MA, rejected plans for a new horse racetrack that could have materialized into a retail sportsbook.

The unofficial tally was 830 against and 312 in favor. The proposed racetrack would have been located in central Massachusetts on the 400-acre Great Meadowbrook Farm. 

Some voters were pleased with the outcome

John Stefanini, a spokesperson for the proposal, said the group would take some time and decide whether to resubmit plans for Hardwick or another area by Feb. 24. “We’re disappointed,” Stefanini said. “We need to regroup and consider our next options.”

Resident Ned Kelly told MassLive there couldn’t have been a better outcome. 

“I’m happy, I’m very happy (with the vote outcome). “I was terrified of all that traffic (the project could bring).”

The rejection leaves the Commonwealth with just two horse tracks, Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs. Under Massachusetts gaming law, both properties can apply for Category 2 sports betting licenses.

Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs can also partner with an online sports betting operator for an extra $5 million. Although each property has yet to apply, experts anticipate both will do so sometime this year. 

Raynham Park has already made a deal with online operator bet365 for an online sportsbook. 

When will Massachusetts sports betting launch?

How things look, online Massachusetts sports betting is likely to launch in March. Retail sports betting will likely debut later this month.

Top operators likely to call Massachusetts home include Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel plus many more. Before doing so, each operator must first secure a Category 1 sports betting license.

In total, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission received 15 sports betting applications by its Nov. 21 deadline. 

The commission began reviewing applications in December. The commission said it would continue the review process through Jan. 18, when it will vote on untethered Category 3 online licenses. 

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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