Why MA Sports Betting Market Has Only 7 Operators At Launch

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MA sports betting

In the end, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will not be overwhelmed by the number of online MA sports betting entrants into the legal marketplace – far from it, in fact.

There will not be dozens of online Massachusetts sports betting operators launching at 10 a.m. ET March 10, as some earlier theorized.

So how did the situation in the Commonwealth change?

MA sports betting early interest

Early on, there appeared to be significant interest in securing an MA sports betting license.

On Aug. 31, 2022, 42 entities submitted a notice of interest to apply for a license. 

The state’s statutory language allows for up to 15 online sports betting licenses, including up to seven untethered via a competitive bidding process. 

Potential crisis averted

However, further complicating matters was a legislative loophole that would allow an unlimited number of temporary licenses.

The MGC was concerned about a potentially challenging scenario where 20 or more sportsbooks with temporary licenses would have to be shut down once the winners were selected.

Fortunately for the commission, it never came to that. 

MA sports betting landscape in 2022

In October, 29 entities submitted scoping surveys to the MGC, including 18 from potential operators seeking an untethered license. Yet by the Nov. 21, 2022 deadline, the commission received 15 total sports betting operator applications, including six from mobile-only hopefuls. 

At that point, the landscape looked like: 

Category 1

In-person casino sports betting licensees could have up to two online skins:

MGM elected not to utilize its second online skin. 

Category 2

In-person racetrack sports betting licensees could have one online skin: 

Category 3

Untethered online sports betting licensees include:

MA sports betting operator exits

Since then, bet365 elected to back out of its deal with Raynham Park, which followed by cutting a deal with Caesars for in-person wagering. Raynham Park owner Chris Carney told the Enterprise that bet365, “balked at conforming to some of Massachusetts’ gaming regulations.”

PointsBet went through a suitability review and was awarded a license, but also backed outCEO Sam Swanell said on an earnings call, “adding Massachusetts was probably one step too far.” Swanell left open the possibility PointsBet could come back to the Commonwealth down the road.

Meanwhile, BetRivers said during an earnings call that it gained market access for Massachusetts. Yet despite rumblings of an arrangement with Suffolk Downs, nothing has materialized. 

Day 1 MA sports betting operators

Seven online MA sports betting operators are set to launch four days before the start of the NCAA Tournament

More to come

Fanatics Sportsbook and Bally Bet will make it nine with their expected launches in May

Betway will eventually give bettors 10 options when it launches in Q1 2024.

Still, the double-digit total is a far cry from what state regulators were expecting during the early interest period.

What’s next for Massachusetts

Currently, there are two untethered vacancies in the Commonwealth.

Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs could look to find an online partner. 

Granted, the untethered vacancies would come with no financial obligations to a racetrack partner.