Bally Bet First Sportsbook Eyed for Massachusetts Standalone Mobile License

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Massachusetts today eyed Bally Bet for one of six standalone mobile sports betting licenses up for grabs ahead of the commonwealth’s planned pre-March Madness mobile launch in early March. 

A vote on whether to issue a license to Bally Bet is on hold, however. 

According to Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein, none of the six mobile sportsbooks vying for Category 3 standalone mobile license (untethered to a casino or racino) in Massachusetts will be issued a license by the commission until all applications have been reviewed over the next two weeks. Hearings on applications from the other five applicants — FanDuel (Betfair), Betr, DraftKings (Crown), Betway, and PointsBet — will resume on Monday, when the commission plans to review FanDuel’s application. Applications are being evaluated in alphabetical order.

A “collective” evaluation process for all untethered applicants is expected to conclude on Jan. 19, Judd-Stein said at today’s evaluation of Bally Bet. 

The chair said that a collective final determination of licensing for untethered applicants is required by regulation to determine “how granting any particular application, or a combination thereof, will benefit the commonwealth.” 

According to Judd-Stein, the ultimate goal is “to maximize overall benefits and minimize overall harm or risk of harm to the commonwealth.” 

Bally Bet Meets Most MGC Expectations for Mobile License

Overall, Bally Bet met the commission’s expectations for a standalone license as outlined in state regulation. Commissioners today checked off boxes for Bally Bet’s sports betting expertise, economic benefit to the commonwealth, technology, and financial requirements. 

Requested information on diversity goals is expected to be filed by Bally’s Interactive before a final licensing determination is made later this month. 

Additional questions raised during today’s evaluation of Bally Bet related to the sportsbook’s total market share and its ability to maximize revenue in the Bay State.

Bally Bet’s US market share is lower nationally than US market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, which had a national market share of 33 percent and 19 percent respectively in June 2022, according to testimony from financial firm RSM before the commission today. Bally Bet’s exact market share was unspecified in a chart shared by RSM for the June period. 

Questions also surfaced about the sportsbook’s hold percentage. RSM told the MGC that in more competitive markets, the hold percentage is lower to benefit the players. Median hold in a market like Massachusetts is between 8 and 8.2 percent, according to RSM. 

Bally’s Interactive official Adi Dhandhania stated during today’s meeting that Bally’s Interactive hold percentage was provided in its Massachusetts application “as margin in one of the sections where we had provided our assumption of 7 percent for margin” – an answer that seemed to satisfy the commission. 

Massachusetts Will Be Ninth State for Bally Bet

Massachusetts would be the ninth state to license Bally Bet if the sportsbook is given the green light by the MGC later this month. 

Since launching in 2021, Bally Bet has gone live in Arizona, New York, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, and Virginia. It is soon expected to launch in both Maryland and Ohio, where it was licensed in recent months. 

The MGC is expected to review untethered mobile applications on Jan. 9, 10, 11, and 13, each day beginning at 10 a.m. The following week, the MGC will continue its review starting at 10 a.m. on Jan. 17, Jan. 18, and Jan. 19. Any review not completed on Jan. 19 may be continued on Jan. 20. 

Massachusetts is expected to launch mobile sports betting tied to casinos and via standalone apps by early March. Retail sports betting at the state’s three casinos is expected to launch on Jan. 31. 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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