Caesars Sportsbook received approval Monday for online Massachusetts sports betting.
During the second leg of two days worth of suitability hearing, Caesars officials agreed to refrain from advertising partnerships with state colleges and ensured commissioners they learned from tech slipups in other states.
“Thank you for your patience with us as we go through this process,” Commissioner Brad Hill said. “Congratulations to you and welcome to Massachusetts.”
Concerns over college marketing
Commissioners nearly delayed the vote to amend MA sports betting regulations with prohibitions on collegiate sportsbook partnerships.
Caesars has drawn criticism from the commission, as well as federal lawmakers, over its marketing partnerships with LSU and Michigan State.
Commissioner Eileen O’Brien proposed making it a unique condition to Caesars’ license instead, in an effort to save time ahead of what she called the state’s “aggressive” March timeline for online sports betting. Other commissioners expressed hesitation with the condition, as it hadn’t been made a part of licenses the MGC has already awarded WynnBet and BetMGM.
But she withdrew her condition after Caesars officials promised college partnerships would not be a part of their Massachusetts sports betting business, saying she “felt comfortable.”
Credit cards excluded from Massachusetts sports betting
Caesars officials faced questions over how they would prevent use of credit cards to fund accounts, as commissioners cited the use of third-party systems used to skirt regulations in other states.
The Massachusetts sports betting bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in August prohibits oddsmakers from accepting any wagers funded directly or indirectly from credit cards.
“To be fair to the applicant, [these] concerns are not exclusive to this applicant,” Commissioner Nakisha Skinner said.
Caesars has implemented technology to reject credit cards up-front and “audit transactions on the back end” to ensure they have not been indirectly funded via credit, said Eric Hession, executive vice president and chief financial officers of Caesars Entertainment.
New platform to firm up tech issues, officials say
Caesars officials also addressed concerns about past slip-ups where users have been able to access changes to its app made without approval from state regulators.
“Each of those items has been a lesson learned to ensure we obtain all necessary approvals before instituting a process change,” Jeff Hendricks, senior vice president of regulatory and compliance at Caesars Entertainment, said.
He added that Caesars’ recent shift from its legacy William Hill app to its new platform would help reduce technological snafus.