More Licenses Added As MA Sports Betting Bill Clears House

Posted on July 29, 2020

A jobs package that would also legalize Massachusetts sports betting in MA was approved late Tuesday by the House and now goes to the Senate.

The renumbered H 4887 was also amended to allow more online sportsbooks to join the market.

Now instead of just DraftKings and FanDuel qualifying for untethered licenses, there are another two available. Any operator with a sportsbook in two or more US states for more than a year can apply.

Should the bill pass, a total of seven online sports betting licenses would be available in Massachusetts. Five, however, could already be taken.

There isn’t much time for the Senate to work on the bill as Massachusetts’ session ends Friday. And while the House passed the package 156-3, the Springfield Republican reported last week the sports betting portion of the bill will receive more scrutiny in the Senate.

The Senate is also working on its own jobs package which could include different sports betting legislation.

MA sports betting license breakdown

First, let’s break down the licenses that are most likely already taken.

The three casino operators get online licenses. But Penn National and MGM Resorts will likely opt for their own brands: Barstool Sportsbook and BetMGM, respectively.

Wynn Resorts also operates a casino in the state. Wynn offers sports betting through Stadium Technology at its Las Vegas casinos and has two partners in three other states:

  • BetBull in Colorado and Indiana
  • Scientific Games in New Jersey

Only the New Jersey site is live in its soft-launch test period.

Then, of course, there are the two licenses that seemed to have DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in mind specifically. Those are the only two operators that fit the description of offering daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts for a year before this bill is legalized as well as sportsbook operations in two or more states.

Assuming Wynn keeps its license, that means the two licenses amended into the bill might be the only ones available for bidding.

Who could take other licenses?

The list of operators that qualify for the two additional licenses isn’t very long.

Right now, the only sports betting operators that fit the description are BetRivers and William Hill. More will join as their anniversaries lap in other states. Fox Bet will be in Pennsylvania for a year in September and BetAmerica in December.

Given the economic terms of the sports betting bill – $250,000 for the application for a five-year license, a $50,000 fee for a temporary license to immediately offer betting and revenue taxed at 15% – there should be significant interest in landing a license.

There were proposals to raise the sports betting tax as high as 50%, but those ultimately failed on the House floor.

Another license coming?

There could be a fourth online sportsbook license available from a casino operator in the future.

The same amendment calls for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to submit a report on another casino in southeastern Massachusetts by Oct. 1.

The commission has long pondered whether a casino would be economically viable in that part of the state. In 2016, regulators rejected a bid by Rush Street for a large casino project in the region.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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