Massachusetts Operators Split on Phased in Launch versus All-in Approach

Massachusetts continues to explore its options when it comes to sports gambling and how the rollout of the industry ought to be done. During a hearing on Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission heard input from various stakeholders, who mostly agreed that having in-person and retail betting go ahead of the mobile rollout would be acceptable.

Massachusetts Betting Stakeholders Discuss Launch Conditions

Most stakeholders acquiesced to this idea, but not DraftKings, which said that for the sake of fairness, all operators must go live on the same date and with their full portfolio. The Commission agreed that it wants to find a way and implement sports gambling in the state without unnecessary delays but cautioned that ultimately, player protection and gaming integrity remained its key priority that would take precedence.

An expedited path may be encumbered by a number of roadblocks, though, warn regulators. This is mostly because stakeholders too are not entirely sure how to best approach the industry and seem to have their differences. The Commission sought input on Thursday and asked for more feedback on a temporary license structure, the schedule of the launch, and other pressing matters.

Numerous attendees offered their input, including DraftKings and FanDuel, two of the biggest names in the industry. Interestingly, there were other companies that are fairly new faces but still competitive and interested in growing their market share. Betfred, a European bookmaker, was also present during the Thursday meeting and so was Betr, a newly launched betting platform that will seek to “TokTify” the betting experience and that is backed by media influencer star Jake Paul.

While differences continued throughout the meeting, most agreed that having in-person betting start first would not be too bad. Brad Hill, a commissioner, said that it looked like most of the operators were happy with this development.

All Verticals Should Go Live at the Same Time

However, DraftKings senior director of government affairs Chris Cipolla objected and drew parallels with other markets, insisting that most other markets have launched their operations at the same time. Cipolla argued that it would be fairer for everyone if all verticals can be launched at the same time.

There has been some degree of sobering skepticism about the upcoming sports betting launch as well. According to the University of Massachusetts and SEIGMA, sports betting may not generate the expected windfall in revenue. Casinos in the meantime remain one of the biggest contributors to the economy, generating $92 million in gross gaming revenue in August and matching 2021’s levels.

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