Three retail sports betting operators in Massachusetts won’t have to trash their launch and Super Bowl advertising and marketing materials, but they will have to recreate them after the NFL’s premier event.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently amended a regulation to require a larger font size for responsible gambling messaging than was previously in place, and after representatives for Encore Boston Harbor filed for a waiver, it became clear that the amendment had created a conundrum.
In light of Encore’s filing, the commission agreed to waive the new font-size requirement until at least Feb. 15. The Super Bowl is set for Feb. 12 in Arizona.
All three Massachusetts operators — Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park — have plans to go live with retail wagering Tuesday and already have advertising and marketing collateral printed. Had the MGC not granted the waiver, all three would have had print materials that were in violation of the regulations.
Though it was Encore Boston Harbor that filed for the waiver ahead of Friday’s MGC meeting, representatives from MGM and Plainridge Park said during the meeting that they also had advertising and marketing materials that were not in compliance.
Additionally, Jacqui Krum of WynnBET (Encore) said under the new guidelines the responsible gambling messaging would not fit on billboards. “With the current size requirement, billboards won’t be doable,” she said. “If we have to go without billboards, we’ll go without billboards.”
In response, the commission discussed an intention to work with the Department of Health, which authorizes the messaging, to explore if there is a way to make the font size and length of the messaging appropriate for billboards.
Voluntary self-exclusion list live
As the font issue was being discussed, the MGC sent out a release that its voluntary self-exclusion list is now active and available for use. The list is exclusive to sports betting, and consumers can join the list in person at any of the three casinos, by calling 1-800-426-1234, or online at www.gamesensema.com.
Massachusetts already has a self-exclusion list for casino gaming, and anyone on that list will remain excluded from casino gaming as well as be added to the sports betting exclusion list.
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“VSE programs are proven to be a successful tool for those who need a break from gambling to manage their own play,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein via press release. “In light of research we have at our
disposal, the MGC and our licensees are committed to offering these types of programs and a range of other resources to help gamblers in the Commonwealth.”
The MGC will soft-launch the three retail sportsbooks Monday with full launch set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Both the WynnBET sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor and the BetMGM sportsbook at MGM Springfield have plans for 10 a.m. launch events, while the Barstool Sportsbook at Plainridge Park will hold a ribbon cutting and launch event at 1 p.m.
Massachusetts law allows for retail sportsbooks at the three existing casinos plus two horse racetracks, though the tracks have plans to launch in the future and neither has gone through the application process yet. Raynham Park did announce this week that it will partner with Caesars Sportsbook for a brick-and-mortar location.
On the digital side, the law allows for up to 15 platforms, and so far, 11 have been initially approved for an early-March launch.