Massachusetts Begins Licensing Process for Sportsbooks, Solicits Public Comment
Step by step, the launch of sports betting in Massachusetts is becoming more clearcut for fans who anticipate being able to place wagers in early 2023.
At the end of an eight-hour meeting on Oct. 6 that revealed a tentative timeline for an official start, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved the release of application requirements for sportsbooks operators. The agency wants to receive public comment on the document.
In addition, the MGC endorsed sending out the scoping survey that sportsbooks must submit as part of the sports wagering license application.
Massachusetts Sportsbook Application Requirements
The survey is the first step in applying for a Massachusetts sportsbook license. A sportsbook application submitted without the preliminary survey will be considered incomplete by the MGC. The application must include the following items:
- Background information related to the Applicant
- The Applicant’s experience and expertise related to Sports Wagering
- The economic impact to the Commonwealth if the Applicant is awarded a License
- A description of the Applicant’s willingness to foster racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, equity, and inclusion within their workforce
- The Applicant’s proposed measures related to responsible gaming
- The technology that the Applicant intends to use in its operation
- The suitability of the Applicant and its qualifiers
- Attestation forms verifying the authenticity of the information submitted in the application.
In total, over 40 sportsbooks submitted a notice. Each of the state’s category 1 operators (retail casinos) submitted notices: MGM Springfield (BetMGM), Encore Boston (WynnBet), and Plainridge Park Casino (Penn Sports Interactive).
Category 2 operators include live horse racing venues, and the commission has put a hold on discussing licensing for that category. Category 3 is for online sportsbooks.
With a staggered schedule, it is expected that category 1 operators will begin offering in-person sports wagering in late January. Category 3 operators are expected to follow at some point after that by offering online sports betting. That could come in late February or early March.
Taxation Of Sportsbooks Finalized
The MGC also posted the approved tax regulations for sports wagering and fantasy sports contest operators: Adjusted Gross Sports Wagering & Adjusted Gross Fantasy Wagering Receipts Tax Remittance & Reporting.
Fantasy operators must pay a 15 percent tax on adjusted gross fantasy wagering receipts. This requirement is retroactive to the new sports betting law on Aug. 10.
Retail sportsbooks, the category 1 operators, will pay 15 percent on adjusted receipts. Online sportsbooks will pay 20 percent of bets placed on their digital platforms.
Public Comments And Operator Survey Due Oct. 17
Comments on all the documents from the public are due Monday, Oct. 17. Sportsbooks must submit the survey by the same date.
The MGC originally discussed having the due date as Oct. 14, but gave operators and the public extra time due to the federal holiday on Oct. 10. The deadlines, categorized as “aggressive” by some MGC commissioners, are driven by the hope that category 1 operators in the state can begin offering in-person retail sportsbooks in time for fans to place bets for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023.
The public can submit comments via a form on the MGC website.
Since the MGC did not finish all their agenda items on Thursday, they resumed their conversations Friday afternoon to determine a timeframe for sports operators to complete the submission of their application and to discuss possible dates for retail sportsbooks to begin accepting wagers. The MGC is also in the process of determining rules for vendors who provide services to sportsbooks, another item on the Oct. 6 agenda that was moved to the Friday afternoon discussion. Additional public meetings are set for next week.