Massachusetts Gaming Commission Reviews Potential Sports Betting Rules

Written By Derek Helling on October 14, 2022
rfa massachusetts sports betting online untethered

The members of the state’s gaming commission are going to be very familiar with each other by the time legal Massachusetts sports betting becomes available. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) met again on Thursday, devoting a lot of time to reviewing potential regulations for sports betting.

While there is still no firm timeline for when either in-person or online betting in the state might begin, the MGC is moving toward that goal. Thursday’s meeting consisted of a lot of necessary discussions over how to start the process of approving license applications.

MGC considers adapting previous rules for Massachusetts sports betting

A good portion of the commission members’ discussion during Thursday’s meeting involved a potential starting point for sportsbook license considerations. MGC Counsel Todd Grossman presented text from similar regulations that the state used to approve its last round of casino licenses.

The general idea is that the Commission can use that Request For Applications (RFA) as a framework for how it will evaluate and gra
nt sportsbook licenses, with necessary modifications. Among the possible changes that Commission members discussed were:

  • Whether to require a preliminary review for completeness of applications before considering applicants’ suitability for licenses
  • If the process for granting the seven untethered (not connected to a casino or race track in Massachusetts) online licenses should include progressive rounds of narrowing the field of candidates
  • Whether the Commission should review applications for stakeholder suitability as part of the whole application or as its own issue

Grossman stated a draft of the RFA with modifications should be available for the commission’s next meeting. Although it’s possible they could approve those regulations during that quorum, there’s no guarantee that would happen.

In related matters, commissioner Karen Wells stated other regulations governing testing requirements for sportsbooks’ systems should also be available “in short order.” Also, responsible gaming system provider GameSense shared an update with the MGC.

A spokesperson for GameSense noted that the company is working on new materials for gamblers specific to safe sports betting. Commission chair Cathy Judd-Stein reminded hopeful licensees to complete and submit a scoping survey as part of their applications by Monday.

So what’s the bottom line for eager bettors?

Currently, anyone interested in the process of approving licenses or regulations has an opportunity to influence that activity. The MGC has made license application forms and revenue reporting rules available for public comment.

Additionally, the proposed RFA should be up for public comment soon. That RFA could include a time frame for when the MGC will expect and then respond to license applications. If it does, and the commission approves the RFA at its next meeting, Massachusetts bettors could get a better idea of when they’ll be able to lay their bets down.

Thursday’s meeting consisted of a lot of preliminary discussion about that action, but necessary initial discussion. Each of these meetings represents another step closer to getting apps and betting windows open in Massachusetts.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of Playin USA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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