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Massachusetts Gaming Commission Defers MGM Springfield Retail Sports Betting License Vote

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Dec 7, 2022 · 12:48 PM PST

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  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission deferred its vote on MGM Springfield’s retail sports betting license until next week
  • Commissioners require more information on BetMGM, which has an online sports betting hearing next week
  • If pattern holds true, Encore’s application tomorrow will likely be deferred as well

We’re beginning to see a pattern here so far with the Massachusetts sports betting retail license applications.

For the second day in a row, members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission unanimously deferred a vote on a retail sports betting license application. The Commissioners deferred the vote on MGM Springfield casino’s retail application until next week so it can gather more information and receive answers on the casino’s sports betting partnership with BetMGM.

The same scenario occurred on Tuesday when the commission deferred a vote on Plainridge Park Casino’s retail license to gather more information on its partnership with Barstool Sportsbook. Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and tomorrow’s applicant Encore Boston Harbor have all partnered with sports betting operators to run their retail and online sports betting operations.

The Gaming Commission has so far made it clear that they will not vote on retail sports betting license applications until they hold scheduled hearings on the casino’s online sports betting partnerships next week.

Unless Encore Boston Harbor’s application includes extensive information about partnership with WynnBET and Caesars Sportsbook, it will likely experience the same deferral.

Commissioners Require More Info on Online Partnerships

Commissioner Nakisha Skinner noted early in the proceedings today that she required more information on BetMGM before making a determination on MGM Springfield’s retail sports betting application. BetMGM is mentioned a number of times in the application as an operator, she said, and clarification is needed on its role.

“I don’t have enough information to fully evaluate the MGM application,” Skinner said.

Gaming Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein agreed with Skinner. It’s fair to say that not enough information is included in the application about BetMGM’s role as a retail sportsbook operator in the application, she said.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Executive Director Karen Wells said BetMGM is being presented as a vendor in MGM Springfield’s retail sports betting application and will be presented as a separate applicant during its online sports betting operator hearing next week.

Skinner and O’Brien did not agree with her assessment. Even if it’s not being presented as such, BetMGM is indeed a prominent vendor in this retail application, Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said, and without hearing additional information from the operator it makes it difficult to vote on MGM Springfield’s application.

“I’m not having any doubt that when we get to BetMGM, and that material is in fact in front of us, that we’re going to be moving forward,” she said.

Judd-Stein agreed and said the commission cannot make a ruling on the Category 1 retail sports betting license application until hearing its Category 3 online sports partnership application.

MGM Springfield Retail Sportsbook Plans

Earlier in the day, MGM Springfield COO and President Chris Kelley presented the casino’s sportsbook plans to the commission. It began construction on a multi-million dollar sports lounge and betting area in April 2021 and completed the project in August 2021. The entire capital project cost $4 million and will eventually include a 45-foot viewing wall.

Kelley said the casino is in position to move very quickly on retail sports betting when given the green light by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

“This is without a doubt a milestone moment,” Kelley said.

MGM retail sports betting is currently live in 24 jurisdictions, Kelley said, and has secured (or anticipates) having market access in 34 jurisdictions overall.

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