DraftKings did not get any special treatment from state regulators this week during its suitability review for an untethered online MA sports betting license.
The Boston-based operator had to address in executive session remediation efforts regarding a myriad of compliance issues before moving along in the Massachusetts sports betting license process.
“The Massachusetts presence is impressive. There are a few areas to work on. I think you heard us. I would trust that if you get a license to do that in the Commonwealth we would see positive trends in that regard,” Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will re-evaluate and then vote on the six untethered applicants on Jan. 18-19. Online sports betting will go live in the Commonwealth in early March.
DraftKings MA sports betting roots
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, who was overseas, preached the company’s home-state roots during his opening remarks.
“DraftKings’ brand has become synonymous with sports in America, but in many ways we’re still a local company,” Robins said. “We have more employees in Massachusetts than any other location.”
Robins added that DraftKings employees call more than 150 cities and towns in the Commonwealth home.
List of DraftKings infractions
Robins had to jump off the call by the time regulators began asking questions about DraftKings’ previous infractions.
Compliance issues that needed to be discussed included:
- DraftKings is facing a $350,000 fine during the Ohio launch after sending 2,500 ads to persons under 21.
- DraftKings was fined twice in New Jersey for sending push notifications and direct mail to patrons on the statewide exclusion list.
- DraftKings had issues in Indiana surrounding exclusion list mailings and an untimely filing of notice to the regulator.
- DraftKings was fined $150,000 in NJ for breaching proxy betting rules.
- DraftKings had a matter with SBTech‘s financial reporting system.
In addition, DraftKings also publicly addressed fines in Illinois and Ontario. Company representatives pushed commissioners to discuss most of the issues in executive session rather than in an open forum.
Other MA sports wagering issues
DraftKings’ presentation was fairly detailed, but the commission brought up some issues:
- O’Brien pointed out the use of the term “free bets” in promotional language. Rather than saying it would get rid of the term entirely, the operator only said it would do so based on jurisdiction.
- The MGC also brought up concerns surrounding athlete partnerships. “We ensure integrity by working with our league partners,” the operator responded.
- DraftKings is comprised of just 27% women company-wide. “I was struck by the gender number, to be perfectly blunt.” O’Brien said. “We’re not where we want to be,” a staffer responded.
- DraftKings hired Cristina Ackas this week as its VP of inclusion, equity and belonging. “We’ve committed $1 million annually to accelerate our inclusion, equity and belonging philosophy,” Robins said.
- The commissioners also wanted to see RG messaging on DraftKings’ app home screen.
- DraftKings will need to supply workforce and supplier diversity goals, and provide the overall vendor spend.