Which Sportsbooks Will Receive Massachusetts Sports Betting Licenses?

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DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has his eye on the Massachusetts sports betting market (AP Photo/John Locher)

Massachusetts sports betting will bring more than 20 legal sportsbooks to the Bay State – including 15 mobile sports betting apps. As for which online sportsbooks will be licensed in the state, the smart money is on top-performing sportsbooks already live in New England and neighboring states. 

DraftKings is based in Massachusetts and is established online in New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut

FanDuel is online in both New York and Connecticut

Caesars Sportsbook is live in New York

– Other New York sportsbooks include PointsBet, BetMGM, and BetRivers

Sports bettor loyalty to these brands – plus the ability for the brands to launch quickly in the next big state market – could set them up for success in the Bay State as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission makes licensing decisions in the months ahead. 

DraftKings’ Home Cooking 

Boston-based DraftKings has been calling for Massachusetts sports betting since at least 2019. That’s when DK CEO Jason Robins told state lawmakers in Boston that his company would be unable to grow in Massachusetts without legalization. 

On Monday, Robins praised lawmakers for legalizing sports betting hours in the final moments of the 2022 legislative session on Beacon Hill.

FanDuel, Caesars, DraftKings: The New York Connection 

Which online sportsbooks are performing well next door in New York — a popular playing ground for sports bettors in New England and beyond – might have considerable influence in Bay State licensing decisions.

DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the biggest players in the multi-billion-dollar New York mobile market, capturing 22.9% and 31.9% of the total New York mobile handle in the first four weeks of play.

The top performer in those early days, however, was Caesars Sportsbook, which took 35.4% market share of an early $1.98 billion total handle. 

Any of the three could potentially be very successful in Massachusetts, as well.

When Could Online Sports Betting Launch in Massachusetts? 

A timeline for licensing of sportsbooks and the launch of the industry in Massachusetts is not yet known, but state gaming officials have said they will act quickly once the bill becomes law. Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to sign the legislation soon. 

Any of these top sportsbooks could launch quickly in Massachusetts, should they be licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.  

The commonwealth’s 2022 sports betting bill approved Monday will allow retail or online sportsbooks to launch under a temporary license for a $1 million fee. 

A permanent license will run $5 million, renewable after five years for another five years.

Online sportsbooks will be taxed at 20% of their adjusted gross revenues. Retail sportsbook revenues will be taxed at 15%. 

Casino, Tracks, and Stand-Alone Sportsbooks All Have a Stake 

Under Massachusetts’ sports betting bill, up to seven licenses will be granted to sportsbooks not tethered to casinos or racetracks.

Casinos, racetracks, or simulcast facilities (which could also offer retail sports betting) will not be allowed to partner with sportsbooks holding one of those seven stand-alone licenses. 

According to the bill, “the commission shall issue no more than seven Category 3 (mobile or online sports betting) licenses that are not connected to a (casino, track, or simulcast location). Nothing in this chapter shall require a category 3 licensee to partner with or have any commercial relationship with a (casino, track, or simulcast location).” 

That could benefit big-name sportsbooks that are able to make it in the state without a casino or track partner. But it could put the casinos and other gambling facilities at somewhat of a disadvantage. 

The casinos and other gambling facilities will still be able to compete online, however. Each will be eligible to launch an online app or apps, licensed separately from their retail sports betting operations. 

Licensing at Massachusetts casinos and tracks will work like this: 

  • Up to two individually-branded sportsbook apps will be allowed per each of the state’s three casinos (MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park Casino) 
  • One individually-branded sportsbook app each for the commonwealth’s only live horse racing track (Plainridge Park), and the Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park simulcasting facilities.
  • Plainridge Park, however, will be allowed to be licensed as a casino or a track — not both. That will prevent the casino/track from claiming more than two online apps when sports betting launches in the Bay State. 

Which Casino Sportsbooks Are Bettors Likely to See in Massachusetts? 

Which sportsbooks partner with casinos, tracks, and simulcast facilities in the Bay State hinges on which sportsbooks decide to enter the market alone. 

Casinos specifically are expected to partner with at least one sportsbook – including their retail sportsbook – through the company that operates their casino, where possible. 

That would most likely bring BetMGM (MGM Springfield), WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor), and Barstool/Penn National (Plainridge Park Casino) to the Bay State when sports betting launches in the coming months. 

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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