With another operator found qualified for licensure, Massachusetts regulators are getting close to issuing approvals for “untethered” sports betting sites in the state.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Tuesday found that PointsBet met the criteria to offer mobile sports betting, advancing the Australia-based bookmaker’s application to a group evaluation that will begin on Wednesday.
“We're all set on all the application’s sections,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said at the end of the meeting.
Gaming regulators have now advanced all of the “untethered” applications before them for online sports betting sites in Massachusetts, keeping the state on track for its expected early March launch of mobile wagering.
Massachusetts’ sports-betting law and the gambling infrastructure currently in the state permit up to 15 licenses for online sports betting. As many as eight of those licenses can be “tethered,” or tied to brick-and-mortar gaming facilities, while the other seven can be “untethered,” or independent of physical locations.
Legal sports betting will technically start in Massachusetts on January 31, when three casinos will begin taking in-person wagers at their facilities.
A growing roster
The MGC evaluates each applicant based on certain criteria, such as their expertise in offering sports betting, their responsible-gaming measures, and their suitability for a license.
However, for an "untethered" application like PointsBet, commissioners will also conduct a group review of the differences between the applicants and how granting them licenses would maximize benefits and minimize harm to the state. That group review will commence on Wednesday.
But, with Tuesday’s work, the MGC has now advanced applications or found preliminarily suitable companies connected to Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Betr, Betway, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, PointsBet, and WynnBET.
Those mobile sportsbook operators are all aiming to make a splash in the soon-to-open state. PointsBet plans on using its partnership with NBC Sports to its advantage in Massachusetts, including the network's stations in the state, such as NBC Sports Boston.
Nevertheless, the MGC had reservations about the company’s partnerships with the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland and sought a formal commitment from PointsBet that it would not try any similar marketing tactics in Massachusetts.
PointsBet officials agreed they would avoid doing the same in the commonwealth as other operators have done. In other responsible-gambling moves, the bookmaker says it removed the term "risk-free" from all its advertising in September 2022, as other operators have done as well.