Raynham Park’s Retail Sports Betting Hopes Still on Hold in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ Raynham Park is no closer to becoming a retail sports betting licensee after state gaming regulators passed on a critical vote Monday.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, after a nearly seven-hour meeting on Monday, passed on a request by the Massasoit Greyhound Association Inc. – which has ownership in Raynham Park – to vote on the preliminary suitability of the simulcasting hall as a potential retail sportsbook licensee. The moment passed after the commission granted the MGA’s request to remove Chris Carney – son of longtime Raynham Park owner George Carney — and a trust in his name as qualifiers in the simulcasting hall’s suitability for a Category 2 (racetrack or simulcasting) retail sports betting license.

MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said during the meeting that the absence of an operator partner has caused the process to stall – although the MGA indicated that it intends to push ahead in the coming months.

Caesars Sportsbook announced Friday that it has backed out of a retail sports betting partnership forged with Raynham months ago. Bet365 backed out of a mobile sports betting partnership with the simulcasting hall earlier in 2023.

Raynham Park hopes to partner with another operator, MGA attorney Jed Nosal told the commission.

MGA Says, ‘We’re Stuck’ in Effort for Massachusetts Sports Betting License

Nosal seemed frustrated during the meeting Monday when it appeared that the commission would pass on a preliminary suitability vote as the MGA had requested. He said the MGA believes it meets the standards of preliminary suitability necessary for it to find a new sports betting operator.

Several MGC hearings have been held on Raynham Park’s Massachusetts sports betting application.

“We’re stuck,” Nosal told the commission. “What we’ve been asking for is that MGA as it stands now (as a simulcast operator) … will meet preliminary suitability standards applied to category 2 sports wagering licensees, and we would like the commission to consider a finding on that to allow us to do exactly what you want us to – which is find an operator partner.”

“Without any finding or sense of MGA suitability, and now with the removal of the trust and Chris Carney as qualifiers, it still proposes a huge challenge for us to go into the marketplace … and find a partner,” said Nosal.

Details Behind the Qualifier Vote

The MGA itself moved to have Chris Carney and a trust in his name removed as qualifiers for retail sports betting licensing, with the commission granting that request by a split vote.

Exact reasons for Carney’s removal were not made public during Monday’s meeting, aside from a public discussion of what Nosal called a “discrepancy” in public documents regarding Raynham Park business filings.

According to the Boston Herald, several environmental violations cited by the state in connection to the Carney family were aired before the commission last Friday.

What’s Next for Raynham Park?

As for what’s next for Raynham Park, Nosal said the simulcasting center is continuing to look for a new retail sports betting partner following Caesars’ exit.

“We anticipate that any operator would be a qualifier,” as Caesars would have been, said Nosal.

Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Brad Hill was firm that the MGA will need a new operator partner before he is ready to move forward with its application.

“I’m not willing to move forward without an operator,” Hill said Monday.

According to Hill, “I have to look at the facts before me today. I’m trying to understand financially how we’re going to make this work.”

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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