On Monday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced that 12 operators — five tethered to existing casinos, six stand-alone, and one attached to a racetrack — had filed applications. The application deadline with the promise of going live online in early March was Monday. The state’s three casinos — Encore-Boston Harbor, MGM-Springfield, and Plainridge Park — also applied for retail licenses.
Under the new law, the MGC can license up to 15 digital platforms. Each casino is entitled to up to two platforms, the two racetracks are entitled to one each, and there are up to seven stand-alone licenses available.
The expectation was that there would be competition for those seven Category 3 licenses, but as of Monday, Bally’s, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet had applied — one less than the seven available stand-alone licenses.
Fanatics in the mix
Of the three casinos, Encore and Plainridge Park each applied for two digital skins, while MGM applied for one. Of note is that Plainridge Park, owned by PENN Entertainment, indicated that Fantatics Sportsbook would take its second skin.
PENN said that it will use its Barstool Sportsbook for the first skin. Meanwhile, Encore applied for skins for WynnBET and Caesars. Last week, news broke that Encore and Caesars had a “preliminary deal” in place. For its part, MGM indicated that BetMGM would be its first skin and did not specify which operator might take its second skin.
The nascent Massachusetts sports betting industry crystallized Monday as casinos and mobile operators submitted their applications for gaming licenses. https://t.co/df0wOnPYyl
— Alison Kuznitz (@AlisonKuznitz) November 21, 2022
In the press release, the MGC also revealed that bet365 had applied for a license and plans to partner with Raynham Park on a digital platform.
Given the filings, licenses for three digital platforms would still be available — one tethered to MGM, one stand-alone license, and one Category 2 license that will be tethered to Suffolk Downs. The Category 2 license application process is on a different timeline than those of Categories 1 and 3. The MGC will accept Category 2 license applications on a rolling basis and does not guarantee digital launch in early March, while Suffolk Downs has not announced a potential partner.
Rush Street, Hard Rock as yet unpartnered
Of the entities that previously filed Notices of Intent to operate in Massachusetts, both Fubo Sportsbook and MaximBet have since announced they will be shuttering, leaving 888 (SI Sportsbook), Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), Resorts World, Hard Rock, and Unibet among the most well-known operators that do not yet have partners.
From here, the MGC will vet applications with an eye toward opening the three casino retail locations in “late January” ahead of the Super Bowl, while launching Category 1 and qualified Category 3 digital platforms in “early March” ahead of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Any entities that apply after the deadline will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.