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Massachusetts: Gaming commissioners receive 29 sports betting license pre-applications

The upcoming Massachusetts sports betting market is beginning to take shape after gaming commissioners announced Wednesday that more than 20 businesses filled out an initial form as part of the application process for a wagering license. The list features many of the country’s major operators – including FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars – but also smaller companies and new startups, including Jake Paul’s Betr, and Great Meadowbrook Farm, a Hardwick-based group seeking to bring thoroughbred racing, sports betting, and a one-mile track to the area.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission received a total of 29 “Scoping Surveys” from potential applicants for Category 1, 2 and 3 sports wagering licenses by an October 17 deadline. Of those applications, three came from potential Category 1 – brick-and-mortar casinos – license applicants, and three came from potential Category 2 – live horsing racing and simulcasting facilities – license applicants.

But most of the Scoping Surveys came from potential Category 3 license applicants, with a total of 23 businesses showing interest in such wagering permits. While Category 1 and Category 2 licenses are tied to existing gambling facilities, Category 3 allows for up to seven independent online wagering operators, which is expected to draw heavy competition.

The surveys, released by commissioners on October 7, are “a required prerequisite” of a sports wagering operator application. The document asks for basic information like company ownership, interests, management structure and investors. Entities wishing to apply for licenses were required to submit them by October 17 in order for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to begin reviewing those companies that plan to apply.

The entities that have submitted operator Scoping Surveys to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission are as follows:

Category 1 Potential Applicant Submissions

  • Encore Boston Harbor

  • MGM Springfield

  • Plainridge Park Casino

Category 2 Potential Applicant Submissions

  • Commonwealth Equine and Agricultural Center/Great Meadowbrook Farm

  • Raynham Park

  • Suffolk Downs

Category 3 Potential Applicant Submissions

  • BallyBet

  • bet365

  • Betfred

  • BetMGM

  • Betr

  • BetRivers

  • Betway

  • BuddyBet

  • Caesars Sportsbook

  • ClutchBet

  • DraftKings

  • Easywin

  • Fanatics Inc.

  • FanDuel Sportsbook

  • Fanlogic

  • MaximBet

  • Mohegan Digital

  • Novibet

  • Penn Sports Interactive

  • PointsBet

  • Underdog Sports Wagering

  • Unibet

  • WynnBet

The survey sought specific company information and is set to help provide commissioners with “valuable information” ahead of application submissions and the applicant evaluation process. Applicants for sports wagering operator licenses are now required to submit a complete application by November 21. Prospective vendors are also required to fill out the Scoping Survey, but they were not required to submit them by the October 17 deadline.

The large number of potential online operator applications is set to weigh heavily on commissioners’ minds over the ensuing month, says MassLive, as they have to facilitate a competitive bid process for one of the seven untethered digital licenses. The Gaming Commission met yesterday to discuss the number of scoping surveys received, along with the criteria that will be used to evaluate sports betting applications.

“This level of interest in sports-wagering licenses demonstrates what I've been saying in past meetings: that the commonwealth’s sports market is an exciting one,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said yesterday. However, this high level of interest also implies plenty of work to do for commissioners ahead of the market launch.

The Gaming Commission agreed earlier this month to a non-binding timeline for the launch of sports betting in the Bay State that envisions retail betting starting in late January and online sometime in March. The timeline was approved on a 4-0 vote after two consecutive days of hearings, during which some regulators said the dates were too “aggressive” given the potential volume of online applicants.


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