MA Sports Betting Operators Agree To Limits Talk, Commission Unsure

Written By

Updated on

MA sports betting

MA sports betting operators have agreed to attend a roundtable on limiting how much players can bet.

It could provide the most in-depth public look yet at how and why sportsbooks limit certain customers. But before that happens, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission must sort a few things out.

During a meeting on Wednesday, the MGC expressed frustration over a virtual no-show from Massachusetts sports betting operators at a previous roundtable and said they need more time before scheduling another meeting.

Why would this time be different?

MA sports betting operators cited confidential risk management practices that could be threatened if they discuss limiting publicly. Bally’s, which is not yet active in the state, was the only operator to attend the previous roundtable.

“Why would the second time be any different from the first? This can’t be showing up as a redo to correct a slight for the sake of making things right,” Commissioner Nakisha Skinner said. “It can’t be just a roundtable for the sake of a roundtable where they say they can’t talk because it’s sensitive information.”

She and her fellow commissioners were not opposed to giving the sportsbooks another chance. They emphasized the need for a tactical approach going forward.

“As has been said by all of us, we need to meet first and figure out what it is, with the information we were given … where are we? And what are the questions we want to ask going forward?” Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said. “I don’t think an open-ended roundtable is the way to go. I think putting it on as a freestanding meeting or an agenda on a shorter meeting is the way to go.”

Limiting a sensitive subject for sportsbooks

Commissioners have called the fairness of limiting into question and suggested they could amend state regulations to curtail the practice.

Any changes to limiting customers could have a business impact for DraftKings and ESPN Bet, both Penn Entertainment and DraftKings said in the “risk factor” section of their annual reports.

O’Brien added more time is needed to “sit down” and go over testimony from the previous roundtable. She wants to study what other countries have done.

MA sports betting regulator concerned with civility

Interim Chair Jordan Maynard said Fanatics and FanDuel reached out to the commission after the last roundtable. Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health CEO Marlene Warner said she would like to attend the next discussion.

Maynard expressed a desire to keep things civil during another potential meeting. O’Brien believes sportsbooks were upset by discourse from bettors including at the last meeting and a podcast shared by an MGC employee on social media featuring one of the guests, “Captain Jack” Andrews.

“I want everyone to be able to get out their thoughts and I want it to be done in an educational way. Not a bombastic way, not a way that would upset or humiliate,” Maynard said. “We will meet on this topic again. This is a long-term conversation that we’re having here.”

Photo by Shutterstock/ARVD73