Massachusetts Reviews Application for Caesars Sportsbook at Raynham Park

A historic former Massachusetts greyhound racetrack is a step closer to receiving state approval to open a Caesars retail sportsbook as part of a $30 million buildout.

Raynham Park (aka the Massasoit Greyhound Association) presented its application for a Category 2 retail Massachusetts sports betting license before the state’s Gaming Commission on Monday. Hours of testimony and discussion – both in public and private sessions – ended around 5 p.m. ET without a vote on the application. MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said the commission will hold more discussion and possibly vote on the application at a future meeting.

That meeting has yet to be scheduled.

If awarded, the Category 2 license would be the first of its kind approved by the commission since the Commonwealth legalized sports betting in Aug. 2022. Two horse racing simulcasting facilities are eligible for a Category 2 license. Raynham is one of the two. The other is Suffolk Down in East Boston — a former horse track that has yet to submit a sports betting license application and is “not under any deadline to do so,” according to MGC Communications Chief Thomas Mills.

Raynham Park, if approved, would be the fourth retail sportsbook to open statewide. Retail sportsbooks have opened at Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool), Encore (Wynn), and MGM Springfield (BetMGM) since Massachusetts launched retail sports betting on Jan. 31.

Is Another Mobile Sports Betting App on the Way to Massachusetts?

Pending Massachusetts licensing, Raynham Park — located about 35 miles from Boston – plans to open its retail sportsbook in a new $30 million facility at the northeast corner of the park in September. As Raynham’s partner, Caesars would operate both retail sports betting and horse race simulcast betting at the new facility.

A rendering of Caesars Sportsbook at Raynham Park in Massachusetts.
A rendering of the planned Caesars Sportsbook at Raynham Park in Massachusetts.

Raynham Park is also eligible to offer online sports betting through one sportsbook app. That app must be licensed separately, however.

A date has yet to be set for MGC to review an application for a mobile sportsbook tethered to Raynham Park.

More Regulatory Steps Ahead

Should Raynham Park be awarded a license, the former track must still meet several state requirements before it can launch its retail sportsbook. One of those requirements is obtaining a “certificate of operations” to prove that all technology and other operations are prepped and ready to go. The certificate is usually awarded close to the anticipated launch date.

All pre-launch regulatory steps are expected to be completed in the coming months.

Raynham officials told the MGC on Monday that they would “rely on Caesars Sportsbook” to meet regulatory requirements tied to sports betting experience and technology. The simulcast facility has experience with parimutuel horse race betting, but no sportsbook experience.

The retail sportsbook would be the second sports betting operation in Massachusetts for Caesars — now one of two mobile sportsbooks licensed as a partner with Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett (WynnBet is the casino’s other partner).

What to Expect at Caesars Sportsbook at Raynham Park

Sports betting is expected to bring new life – as well as new jobs and potentially millions of dollars in new revenue – to Raynham Park, which offered live greyhound racing for nearly 70 years until 2009. Massachusetts voters banned the sport in 2008.

The track began offering horse race simulcasting in 2010.

According to Raynham’s outside counsel Jed Nosal, the new Raynham Park facility is expected to attract 5.4 million potential customers to its state-of-the-art sportsbook and other amenities. The sportsbook would potentially double Raynham Park’s existing workforce, with an emphasis on additional security plus food and beverage workers for on-site restaurants.

Hold percentage at the sportsbook – or the percentage of the amount wagered kept as revenue by a sportsbook – is expected to be “in line with the upper range we would expect to see in the state of Massachusetts,” according to testimony before the commission on Monday by RSM accounting official Connor Loughlin.

Median sports betting hold percentage in Massachusetts is expected to fall between 8-9%, he said.

The new Caesars retail sportsbook facility would be one of the largest in the US with over 30,000 square feet of gaming space. Customers would have access to 16 betting windows, 31 kiosks, and over 400 video displays with stadium seating plus LED boards and sports tickers. Two dining areas, two bars, and three VIP rooms are also planned.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer 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, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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