Sep 6, 2022 - News

Dozens express interest in a Mass. sports betting license

Photo illustration of a hundred-dollar bill with Ben Franklin wearing a football helmet.
Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dozens of companies are angling for a piece of the state's budding sports betting industry, a sign that Massachusetts can be competitive despite being late to legalization, gaming analysts say.

Driving the news: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission received notices of intent to apply for sports betting licenses from 42 companies by the Aug. 31 deadline.

  • This level of interest comes as at least 20 states already have in-person and digital sports betting markets.
  • "People have long believed Massachusetts would be an attractive, productive market for sports betting and there's no indication to the contrary in this initial list," Chris Grove, a gambling industry analyst, tells Axios.

Why it matters: The level of interest could mean that Massachusetts becomes a destination for sports betting fans, filling state coffers with millions in tax revenue, gaming analysts say.

Details: The 42 entities range from top-tier digital sports betting operators like Boston-based DraftKings, Penn National and BetMGM, to local casino-affiliated companies such as WynnBET and Mohegan Digital.

  • Yes, but: Not everyone who expressed interest is likely to apply for a license. GAN Limited, Playtech ONE and others who submitted notices of intent have historically served as a technology provider for sports betting operators, and are more likely to register as a vendor or partner with sports betting licensees.
  • Betr, a new sports book led by YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul, also filed a notice.

Zoom in: With so much interest, smaller, newer sportsbooks like Fubo could be going up against DraftKings, FanDuel and other major industry players to capture this new market.

  • "[They] obviously want to have a play in a market that they know is going to be good, because you can't think of Massachusetts and not think of the Patriots or the Red Sox or the Bruins or everyone else in between," Brendan Bussmann, an industry analyst, tells Axios.

Be smart: The commission ultimately can issue up to seven sports betting licenses for mobile apps, aside from licenses for the state's three casinos and horse race simulcasting operators.

Of note: Companies that did not submit notices of intent by the Aug. 31 deadline can still apply for a sports betting license.

What's next: The commission must finalize its sports betting regulations as it prepares for the market to launch.

  • Commissioners have said in previous weeks they will take their time to get the ramp-up right.
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