The Massachusetts Gaming Commission rejected DraftKings’ request for a universal launch date for retail and online MA sports betting.
The MGC still plans for a retail MA sports betting launch in late January prior to the Super Bowl. It will open online sports betting in early March prior to March Madness.
The matter was finally addressed six hours into Thursday’s public meeting. A DraftKings spokesperson declined comment following the decision.
Why DraftKings wanted a universal launch date
On Oct. 13, DraftKings sent a letter to the commission, requesting the MGC reconsider its vote on a staggered launch.
In the letter, DraftKings argued:
This decision to launch mobile sports wagering after retail sports wagering would artificially limit consumer choice and consumer protections, stunt the state’s sports wagering market, and put mobile first operators, such as DraftKings, at a competitive disadvantage compared to others.
DraftKings urges the Commission to set one universal launch date for all sports wagering in the Commonwealth that encompasses both in person and online wagering.
Operator previously opposed staggered MA sports betting launch
After several hours going over regulations, the MGC finally turned its attention to DraftKings. The operator had been alone during a September roundtable in opposing a staggered launch, provided there was a universal launch date for online sports betting.
DraftKings is headquartered in Boston and has approximately 1,500 local employees. What it does not have is a brick-and-mortar operation like BetMGM (MGM Springfield), WynnBet (Encore Boston Harbor) and Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park).
Why MCG rejected DraftKings proposal
The commission did not hesitate in rejecting DraftKings’ proposal, which did not include any new information for consideration.
“I don’t think we need to revisit this,” Commissioner Bradford Hill said.
Commissioners Eileen O’Brien and Nakisha Skinner agreed. Commissioner Jordan Maynard said that reopening the matter could push back the timeline already in place. Maynard did express concern about equity issues.
Still, the MGC was in agreement that it should stick to a staggered launch for retail and online sports betting.
MA sports betting will provide state revenue
Sports betting operator licenses are due Nov. 21. to the commission.
The MGC, which is expected to meet next on Nov. 10, received scoping surveys from 29 entities, including 24 for Category 3 (online-only) licenses.
Massachusetts could get at least $70 million from gaming licenses. It could see another $70 million annually in revenue from legal sports betting, Rep. Jerry Parisella told the Boston Herald.