Aug 19, 2022 - News

State regulators solicit interest in sports betting licenses

A semi-circle of TV screens shot sports, news segments and more at the WynnBET sports bar inside the Encore Boston Harbor casino.
Encore Boston Harbor is waiting for the green light to take bets. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe

Massachusetts regulators want to hear from casinos, sports books and other companies looking to jump into the state's nascent sports betting industry.

Driving the news: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is accepting notices of intent through Aug. 31 from prospective license applicants.

  • The state's five gaming operators expressed interest in sports betting licenses during a roundtable discussion with commissioners yesterday.
  • It's unclear when the official application process may start. The notices of intent are the first step in what regulators said would be a thorough process to ramp up sports betting.

State of play: Gov. Charlie Baker signed the sports betting legislation into law a little more than a week ago.

  • Now it's up to the gaming commission to finalize the regulations and protocols for setting up sports books.
  • The commission can issue up to seven sports betting licenses for mobile apps, in addition to licenses for the state's three casinos and simulcast horse racing operators.

Zoom in: The state's existing casino and simulcasting license holders have spent years preparing for legalized sports betting.

  • Encore Boston Harbor, owned by Wynn Resorts, opened its WynnBET sports bar last September. Jacqui Krum, senior vice president and general counsel, told commissioners yesterday that the bar is ready to welcome wagerers.
  • MGM Springfield unveiled a sports betting lounge last August.
  • Augustine Kim, MGM Springfield's vice president and legal counsel, told commissioners the casino could be ready to launch sports betting operators in 90 days once given the green light.

Meanwhile: Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park's owners are in talks with several sports betting operators interested in partnering with them for a license.

Between the lines: Citing concerns about space, Krum asked commissioners to consider whether they would let Encore block off a section of its parking garage for people to drop by, place bets and leave.

  • She also asked commissioners to consider whether they could place sports betting kiosks in ballrooms when the casino hosts watch parties for events like the Super Bowl.
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