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Deyan Dimitrov February 24, 2023 3 min read
Massachusetts Regulator To Overrule the Ban on Sportsbook Affiliates
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) agreed to amend the regulations and will hold the final vote on 23 March
The Bay State’s current gambling laws prohibit revenue share and cost per acquisition (CPA) agreements, effectively curtailing all affiliate programs. However, the Commission appears to recognize the value of such arrangements and has agreed to hold talks with operators before putting the matter to vote. Sportsbooks like Caesars are known for their extensive affiliate programs, so an amendment to existing regulations would be a substantial boon.
The MGC Will Hold Talks with Affected Companies
Massachusetts’ sports betting regulations currently prohibit all sports wagering operators from entering into agreements with third parties when compensation depends on the volume of clients, wagers, or the outcome of specific bets. These restrictions severely hinder all traditional affiliate schemes, restricting advertising, marketing, and branding opportunities.
The MGC recently announced an upcoming revision to that regulation, allowing cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and revenue share agreements. The regulator did not share what prompted their sudden change of heart. Many high-profile operators preparing for the 10 March online sports betting launch run extensive affiliate programs, which may have influenced the Commission’s decision.
Despite its initial confirmation, the Massachusetts regulator remains cautious. The MGC announced it would gather representatives of affected companies on 26 February to discuss the matter in-depth, collect necessary data, and gauge the overall sentiment towards current measures. On 23 March, the Commission will hold its final vote regarding the proposed changes and announce its decision shortly afterward.
Allowing Affiliate Agreements Will Significantly Bolster Operators
As 10 March draws near, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is funneling most of its resources into ensuring a smooth and hassle-free online sports betting launch. However, the ongoing efforts do not appear to have impeded its primary function, as it recently tackled its first operator violations. The current drive to allow affiliates proves that the regulator can successfully handle many different tasks, which boards well for the future.
A lift on affiliate bans would significantly benefit many leading operators eyeing the upcoming online launch. Caesars, which relies heavily on such programs, would be one of the greatest beneficiaries of the proposed amendments. The operator has already launched its sportsbook app, offering wagering fans a preview of what they can expect.
Online betting in the Bay State will commence at 10 a.m. ET on 10 March and will be available via seven licensed sportsbooks, with two more launching in May. The delayed launch has allowed the MGC to test its procedures, review its first few violations and establish a constructive dialogue with operators, which is crucial for a well-functioning sports betting market.