Roundtable Redo: Sports Betting Operators Agree to Limiting Bettors Discussion with Massachusetts

10 licensed sportsbooks operating in the Commonwealth have told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that they now agree to talk about the issue with regulators. 

Brad Senkiw - News Editorat
Brad Senkiw • News Editor
Jun 20, 2024 • 16:33 ET • 4 min read
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Sports betting operators in the Bay State have had a change of heart. 

Despite not showing up for a public roundtable discussion on May 21 for a conversation about limiting bettors, 10 licensed sportsbooks operating in the Commonwealth have told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that they now agree to talk about the issue with regulators. 

“Every operator has said that they would be happy to educate us on limitations,” MGC interim chair Jordan Maynard said during Thursday’s public meeting. “I appreciate the outreach from the operators. I appreciate their willingness to come and speak to us.”

The MGC was not opposed to the idea of a redo, and while no date for a second roundtable was set, the regulators agreed to discuss the format and parameters at a later public meeting. 

Doubting a second chance

Maynard specifically mentioned hearing directly from FanDuel and Fanatics Sportsbook about the limiting of certain bettors on their platforms. He told both operators that they would need to discuss why with the entire commission and in a public forum. 

That was not the case last month, when all were invited and the only sportsbook company to show up was Bally Bet, which doesn’t begin operating in Massachusetts until next week. 

The commissioners again shared their disappointment in the decision by operators, who cited not wanting to divulge business practices as reasons for their absence.

“What changed? Why is the second time around better than the first?” commissioner Nakisha Skinner asked during the meeting. “I’m not convinced with a second roundtable that we’re going to get the information, that the operators are going to be forthcoming with the answers to some of the questions that we’ve asked and even more questions now that we’ve been slightly more informed about the issue based on our last guests.”

Bring on the bettors

Despite Skinner calling the Massachusetts sports betting operators’ no-show a “slight” toward the commission, how and why sports bettors are limited remains at the forefront.

The MGC decided earlier this year to discuss the practice of limitations set by sportsbooks after fielding complaints from constituents. Sharp bettors in the U.S. market have had grievances with operators for not allowing wagers because of success against the sportsbooks. 

The commission is still determining how it wants to continue the process and whether or not it needs to take any regulatory action. 

One important parameter for a second roundtable to note is that they want one or two Massachusetts sports bettors to attend the discussion to get their side of the issue. 

Maynard said the operators weren’t pleased that “analysts from the sports wagerer world” were involved in the first roundtable, but the commission agreed that there needs to be a voice for Massachusetts constituents. 

How they find bettors willing to talk in a public forum is undetermined but something they will work toward before the second roundtable. 

Setting other parameters 

The group also wants more information on what Australian regulators are doing with betting limitations as well as pre-determined questions to present to the operators.

There were also ideas of bringing back the first group of attendees for more clarification and keeping the discussion “respectful” with all parties involved. 

Most importantly, the MGC wants progress on bettor limitations and what that means for the industry. 

“It can’t just be a roundtable for the sake of a roundtable where they’re coming and they’re saying, ‘We can’t talk to you because this is sensitive information,’” Skinner said. 

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