Raynham Park executives find themselves in a bit of a conundrum. The former racetrack is the first in Massachusetts being converted into a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, with Caesars Sportsbook as its operator. As the process moves forward, there are some hurdles Raynham Park must clear in order to get licensed, but the licensing process doesn’t seem to be moving with much speed.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Tuesday continued its hearing on Raynham Park’s Category 2 sports betting license, again pausing the meeting without a vote and without setting a date to continue. The first part of the meeting happened June 12, with the MGC saying it was happy to that point with the application. Tuesday, the MGC verbally said it was comfortable with several additional sections of the application, but felt the company had more work to do on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
A key question from Commissioner Nakisha Skinner was about whether Raynham Park had hired a diversity consultant. The company filed its application in January — ahead of some new rules around DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and other issues — and Tuesday, executives confirmed that a consultant had been hired and that Raynham Park was committed to diversifying its staff as it grows.
“We expect that to be an ongoing process,” one executive said, but he went on to explain that given the cost, the facility “wouldn’t commence” with a full program until it was licensed.
DEI could start with suppliers, vendors
Raynham Park, which currently offers parimutuel wagering but does not have live horse racing, has plans to open its brick-and-mortar sportsbook later this year. Skinner suggested that it could begin to diversify while partnering with vendors and suppliers, as well as when it expands its staff. Executives said they believe they have time to begin implementing new DEI initiatives ahead of opening.
Though the commission has not yet voted on any sections of the application, commissioners felt that two sections reviewed Tuesday, including one on responsible gambling and another on security, passed muster. Commissioners did not comment on Section E, which included DEI, preferring instead to hold off and see what updates Raynham Park has to offer when the hearing continues.
Unlike at other retail sportsbooks, Raynham Park will have a lottery window with a teller available, and it will also cross-promote with the Massachusetts Lottery. Raynham Park executives said patrons at the parimutuel facility “appreciate the human aspect” of the current lottery window.
Raynham Park has not yet announced a digital partner, and prior to its agreement with the racetrack, Caesars had already made a deal with Encore Boston Harbor and went live online March 10 along with five other platforms. There are currently three retail sportsbooks open in the state at Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET), MGM Springfield (BetMGM), and Plainridge Park (Barstool Sportsbook).