Executives at Raynham Park pointed toward a football-season opening of their new brick-and-mortar sportsbook during a preliminary review of their application Monday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Commissioners finished the meeting without taking a vote due to time constraints, but through about seven hours of public and private discussion they seemed headed toward initial approval of the application. The MGC plans to schedule further review with Raynham Park executives in the future.
Monday’s presentation included description of a 30,000-square-foot sportsbook with myriad video walls, teller windows, kiosks, and food options, as well as review of personnel, diversity, equity, and inclusion standards, technical standards, financials, and more.
Caesars Sportsbook will operate the new facility and become the fourth national operator with a brick-and-mortar presence in the state. Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park), BetMGM (MGM Springfield), and WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor) are located at the state’s three casinos and launched operations Jan. 31. The state’s two racetracks and parimutuel facilities, Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs, are also eligible for licenses.
Mobile betting in Massachusetts launched March 10, with Caesars among the first six platforms to go live through a partnership with Encore Boston Harbor.
Application well received
On balance, the MGC viewed Raynham Park’s application as thorough and well done, though there were questions during the section-by-section review. Commissioners asked about personnel, specifically if on-site managers would be able to problem solve, and exactly how many new employees Raynham Park and Caesars expect to hire for the project.
The application was submitted in January, but the MGC delayed reviewing it until after the commission launched casino and digital sportsbooks. Since the filing, the MGC has implemented and/or massaged some regulations, including the use of the phrase “free bets,” which does appear in the application. Caesars executives clarified that the company has eliminated use of the phrase and would be in compliance with state regulations. Prohibitions on use of “free bets” and “risk-free bets” as part of promotional offers have become national trends of late.
Raynham Park executives also shared that they would make their new sportsbook a 21-and-older facility, even though the legal age for betting on horse racing is 18. Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein lauded the decision to allow access only to those at least 21.
Workforce expected to double
According to Raynham Park executives, there are currently 72 employees at the facility — 30 full time and 42 part time — and the expectation is that when the sportsbook opens, that number will double. Raynham Park is currently only a simulcast facility after having hosted greyhound racing from 1940-2009. The new sportsbook will be part of a larger entertainment facility on 13 acres adjacent to the old track.
As she has done at previous application meetings, Judd-Stein sought Monday to “take the temperature” of commissioners on each section of the application. All agreed that Section B had met expectations, but the meeting adjourned before the commission was able to weigh in on the remaining sections.