Massachusetts will have enough sports betting licenses to go around – plus a few to spare – when the commonwealth launches mobile and in-person sportsbooks early next year.
Only 15 sports wagering operator applications were received by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) by yesterday’s application deadline, the agency said on Monday. That’s five fewer than the maximum 20 licenses allowed under the 2022 Massachusetts sports betting law.
The number of applications is expected to grow fairly quickly. Both Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs – the commonwealth’s two horse racing simulcast facilities, each eligible for a retail sportsbook and one mobile skin by state law– have been given more time to apply for mobile and in-person (Category 2) licenses by the MGC. Raynham Park got one of its applications in by yesterday’s deadline. But the total number of applicants was still far fewer than expected.
Only six companies applied for the maximum of seven available mobile sports betting licenses not tied to a casino or horse racing simulcast facility. As many as 30 standalone mobile sportsbook applicants had originally been expected by the MGC.
The six companies applying for the standalone spots include the following, according to a Monday press release from the MGC:
The smaller-than-expected number of applicants might work in the commonwealth’s favor – especially when it comes to standalone sportsbooks. With fewer than seven applicants, concerns with temporary mobile sportsbook licensing voiced by the MGC this fall could fall by the wayside.
The lack of a statutory cap on the number of temporary standalone mobile licenses in the commonwealth’s sports betting law stood to complicate launch plans next year.
A Breakdown of Mass Sportsbook Applicants
The 15 applications received yesterday included 12 mobile sports betting applications and three in-person sports betting applications from the state’s three casinos. Six of the mobile applications were for standalone sportsbooks. The other six mobile applications are split between the casinos and Raynham Park.
The three casinos – Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino – are planning to launch retail operations in late January and mobile operations in early March. Each casino is allowed two mobile skins for a total of six mobile skins tethered to casinos overall. Only five of those skins were claimed yesterday, leaving one extra.
Encore Boston Harbor applied for two licenses through its partners WynnBet and Caesars Sportsbook. Plainridge Park Casino also applied for two online platforms through its partners Barstool and Fanatics. MGM Springfield applied for one mobile license through its proprietary BetMGM brand. The remaining application filed yesterday was for Raynham Park’s mobile partnership with bet365.
The MGC plans to award the retail licenses over the next couple of months in preparation for a retail launch ahead of the 2023 Super Bowl. The applications will be publicly reviewed by the commission, with a schedule of upcoming meetings forthcoming.