PointsBet withdrew its sports wagering license in Massachusetts, the state’s regulator revealed Thursday during a meeting in which another violation of the state’s college betting policy was disclosed.
In addition, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced that seven operators are poised to go live with digital wagering on March 10. Nine operators were awarded temporary licenses, but neither Bally Bet (standalone mobile license) nor Fanatics (Encore Boston Harbor) will launch on that date.
Sports Handle previously reported that Fanatics would delay its launch as it continues to refine its in-house tech stack, which will be built on Amelco code. Bally Bet has been focused over time on creating a unique user experience that integrates wagering with media. Fanatics and Bally Bet both plan to go live in May, according to the MGC.
PointsBet applied late last year for one of seven standalone mobile wagering licenses available under the new state law. It went through an application hearing and was approved to apply for a temporary license. The withdrawal means that two standalone licenses remain available.
“We have chosen this path to emphasize our continued focus on our 14 live states of the US (plus Ontario) and how we can best optimize those markets,” a PointsBet spokesperson told Sports Handle via email. “We would like to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for their consideration of our application, conducting extensive hearings, and deeming PointsBet suitable for licensure ahead of the launch of legalized sports wagering in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
PointsBet is the second company to withdraw a digital application in Massachusetts. Bet365, which initially applied tethered to Raynham Park, withdrew its application in January.
Betway to apply for temporary license
Betr, DraftKings, and FanDuel were all awarded temporary standalone licenses Thursday with plans to launch March 10. Four other operators that have been approved as tethered mobile platforms — Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park), BetMGM (MGM Springfield), Caesars Sportsbook (Encore Boston Harbor), and WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor) — also plan to be part of the March 10 launch.
Betway, which won’t launch on March 10, will submit its request for a temporary standalone license as well as its $1 million application fee in the near future. The company is in the process of being acquired, and there was some question as to when it should apply for the temporary license.
Violations of college betting policy
The Massachusetts regulations surrounding betting on local college teams continue to be a challenge for operators. Under the law, betting is prohibited on local teams unless they are competing in a tournament of four or more teams, like the annual Beanpot hockey tournament or the NCAA basketball tournament.
The MGC announced that Encore Boston Harbor again violated rules by allowing betting on a Boston College women’s basketball game.
According to MGC staff, the issue is a technical one. Encore’s Barstool Sportsbook contracts with GAN on the technology side, and while Boston College has been “turned off” for betting in Massachusetts, the system automatically turned it back on. The immediate solution, according to the MGC, is that GAN will stop offering wagering on BC nationwide, which means other companies using GAN — potentially including FanDuel and Barstool Sportsbook — would not be able to offer wagering on the team anywhere in the U.S.
Each retail licensee in the state has erroneously offered wagering on at least one college game since launch on Jan. 31. Plainridge Park and Encore Boston Harbor are set for adjudicatory hearings on March 14 about their violations.
MGC staff explained Thursday how BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Springfield allowed wagering on two Harvard men’s basketball games on Feb. 2 and 3. According to staff, Harvard was “located” in Connecticut in BetMGM’s betting database. That error has since been corrected, which should prevent future wagering on Harvard in the state. An adjudicatory hearing for MGM Springfield will be set.
Meanwhile, Caesars Sportsbook announced this week that its Massachusetts app is available for sign-up and registration, and the company is offering $100 in bonus bets for new customers. The bets will be available in four $25 weekly increments beginning on launch day.