Active MA Sports Betting Operators Limit Roundtable Participation To Zero

Written By

Updated on

MA sports betting

State regulators felt “frustrated” and “angered” after 10 MA sports betting operators failed to attend a Tuesday public roundtable on wagering limits. 

In email responses to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the MA sports betting operators universally said they did not want to disclose confidential risk management practices and other sensitive business information in a public setting.

Commissioners said they were under no legal obligation to hold an executive session on the matter. 

MA sports betting operator attends

Bally’s was the only operator to attend. Granted, it has not yet gone live in the Bay State, with plans to launch in Massachusetts in late June.

One industry source summed up what transpired Tuesday to LSR

“Probably a pretty good indication of how much clout the industry views the commission as having,” the person said. 

Separately, gaming legal expert John Holden told LSR: “The lack of participation from any of the operators is probably a signal that any changes here are going to come really slowly. And there’s probably going to be a fight along the way over it. … I do think that the regulator’s hands are somewhat tied by the legislation. They can’t effectively go out and do whatever they want.

“I think if progress is to be made, going about this by brute force probably isn’t the best approach. The gaming commission is responsible for protecting consumers. But at the same time, you need to have a working relationship with operators as well. So it’s kind of balancing act that I think is really important here.”

MGC upset with sportsbook no-show

The goal of Tuesday’s roundtable was not to decide new policy or regulations, according to interim MGC chair Jordan Maynard. Commissioners were, however, disappointed that sportsbooks elected not to attend.

“It was not a good use of our time given we did not have our primary stakeholders as part of the discussion,” commissioner Nakisha Skinner said. 

Her colleagues certainly shared that sentiment.

“It really didn’t give us the starting point that I hoped we would get today,” commissioner Bradford Hill added. 

Viewpoint of MA sports betting public

Jack Andrews represented the betting public at the roundtable.

Andrews pointed out that none of the licensed operators in Massachusetts have listed limits on their platforms. 

“For most bettors that get limited, there’s actually no notification. They just submit a bet, and the sportsbook says no, that’s more than we’ll allow, try again,” Andrews said. “And often times they have to try again and again and again until they find what their limit is. It’s not posted.” 

Bettors express displeasure in public comments

Dozens of bettors especially voiced frustration to the MGC over betting limits in submitted comments.

“To prey on certain gamblers for large amounts and then limit other gamblers to $3 on bets is just ridiculous,” one email during the public comment period read. 

Consultants on what comes next

Industry gaming consultants Dustin Gouker and Brianne Doura Schawohl did make valuable points. 

Specifically, Gouker suggested the need for more transparency around data for context purposes. 

Meanwhile, Doura Schawohl said there should be a distinction between players limited for responsible gaming reasons, and those who were limited because they were winning too much. 

Photo by Shutterstock/Peter Gudella