The deployment of online sports betting in Massachusetts in question


Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Nearly two dozen companies have expressed interest in a temporary online sports betting license in Massachusetts, confirming suspicions that regulators will have their plate full as they review applications and roll out the industry by March. .

Driving the news: Regulators have given potential applicants until October 17 to complete a “scoping survey” to indicate their interest in the license.

  • Twenty-three companies have expressed interest in an online license, state officials said last week.
  • Regulators can issue up to seven such licenses, depending on state law.

To note : All three casinos and two simulcast centers in the state put their names up for in-person licensing, as did the Great Meadowbrook Farm.

Why is this important: Massachusetts is still months away from bringing sports betting online, but the larger the pool of online (Category 3) license applicants, the harder it will be for regulators to vet them and issue winners with temporary licenses within the deadlines that they have imposed on themselves.

  • The longer it takes, the more tax revenue Massachusetts leaves on the table.

Catch up fast: Regulators have set a tentative rollout deadline for in-person betting (eg, casinos, simulcasts) in late January and online betting in early March, in time for the Super Bowl and NCAA Tournament, respectively.

  • But agreement on the tentative timelines came after nearly two days of intense debate, and only after regulators agreed to a clause allowing them to push back the rollout if they needed more time to consider applications.

What they say : “If the 29 are actually going to submit, we might want to have a conversation about how long it’s going to take and our resources,” Karen Wells, executive director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said at Thursday’s meeting, according to the State House News Service.

  • “But if, hypothetically, only 10 or 11 or 12, it could be different”,

Details: Potential candidates for online licenses range from Boston-based DraftKings to Mohegan Digital and BetMGM to Betr (the startup YouTuber Jake Paul co-founded).

  • Among the contenders are a handful of smaller players — namely New York-based Underdog Sports Wagering and Nigeria-based Easywin — who stand out from more established competitors like FanDuel or those from casinos, per Gaming Today.

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