There is a bit of slack in demand for Massachusetts sports betting licenses.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced on Monday that it had received 15 total license applications for retail and online sports betting sites ahead of its 2 p.m. ET deadline.
However, while the state’s sports-betting law allows for up to seven standalone licenses to be issued for online sports betting, just six applications were received.
That suggests interest was more muted than had been expected, although Massachusetts sports bettors will still have multiple operators to choose from when mobile wagering begins, which is expected to happen in March.
The six operators applying for the standalone licenses for online sports betting in Massachusetts are:
If the applicants receive their "Category 3" licenses, they would be untethered, meaning they aren’t connected to a brick-and-mortar gaming facility. There are also several “tethered” Category 3 licenses that are up for grabs in the commonwealth.
Three of the applications filed with the MGC were for so-called “Category 1” licenses, which are for in-person sports betting at the state's physical casinos (expected to start in March), but that also permit mobile wagering through up to two digital platforms. Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino all filed applications for Category 1 licenses.
In another not-at-all shocking development, MGM Springfield plans on letting BetMGM piggyback on its mobile access and PENN Entertainment-owned Plainridge Park will do the same with Barstool Sportsbook. However, Plainridge Park will grant Fanatics online sports betting access as well using its Category 1 privileges.
WynnBET, Caesars, BetMGM, Barstool, and Fanatics will still require licenses of their own.
“These entities are required to be licensed as Category 3 operators and have submitted the relevant applications,” the gaming commission said. “These licenses are subject to MGC approval.”
Two more licenses
There are also “Category 2” licenses that will be awarded at some point for in-person sports betting at racetracks and off-track betting facilities, as well as via one online sports betting site. Only two entities currently fit that bill, Raynham Park Simulcast Center and Suffolk Downs, but both have indicated they will not be ready to offer legal sports betting by January 2023.
As a result, regulators have agreed to allow Category 2 entities to submit their retail and mobile applications on a rolling basis, rather than subjecting them to a hard deadline. Even so, Raynham Park has told the MGC that it plans on partnering with bet365 for online sports betting, and bet365 submitted its tethered Category 3 license application ahead of Monday’s deadline.
“For a Category 3 operator tethered to a Category 2 license to be able to commence operations, the Category 2 license and certificate of operations must be awarded” though, the MGC said.