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Massachusetts Sportsbooks Agree to Discuss Player Limits in Public Meeting

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Jun 20, 2024 · 12:20 PM PDT

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  • Every licensed Massachusetts sports betting operator has agreed to discuss player limits at a future public meeting
  • This comes one month after operators no-showed a public roundtable on the subject
  • Commissioners hopeful to be educated on the practice

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission revealed today that all seven of the state’s licensed sportsbooks have agreed to attend a future public meeting to discuss the topic of player limits, just one month after six of them no-showed a roundtable on the topic.

A meeting date has yet to be set.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held a long-awaited roundtable discussion on the practice of limiting sports betting customers in the commonwealth last month, but did so without the majority of sportsbooks in the commonwealth. The MGC revealed the operators requested the meeting be held in executive session, which they did not agree to do.

So What Changed In One Month?

The reveal that the seven licensed sportsbook operators (DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics Sportsbook, ESPN BET, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and Bally Bet) agreed to discuss player limits at a public meeting was a surprise, as they previously fought hard to only discuss the practice behind closed doors.

Bally’s was the only licensed operator to attend the original roundtable.

Little is know about the practice, such as why sportsbooks limit certain players, how they limit these players, and if these limitations are ever lifted.

“Every operator has said they will be happy to educate us on limitations,” Maynard said today.

While the news was welcomed by the MGC, several commissioners did question the sudden change in heart.

Commissioner Nakisha Skinner described the no-show of the original roundtable by the state’s licensed operators as a “slight” to the commission. She questioned why the operators were now acceptable to a meeting to discuss the practice just one month after the original roundtable.

“I’m not opposed to having the remaining operators come to us, but what’s the substance of the meeting going to look like? I appreciate the outreach our division has made to operators, and the operators to us, but what has changed? What changed? Why is the second time around here better than the first? I’m not convinced that with this addition of a second roundtable that we’ll get the information we asked for or that operators will be forthcoming with their answers of the questions we ask,” she said.

The commissioners will have to meet before the roundtable to discuss what exactly they need to hear from the sportsbook operators during this public session, Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said. The time for a roundtable may be past, she said, and this may be more acceptable as an agenda item on a regular MGC meeting.

She also stressed that the industry professionals present at the first roundtable be allowed to come back for this next meeting to address their concerns to the sportsbook operators. Industry experts in attendance included Jack Andrews, a professional gambler and founder of Unabated Sports; Brianne Doura Schawohl, founder of a consulting group that specializes in problem and responsible gaming issues; and Dustin Gouker, a gambling/content consultant and former Vice President of Catena Media.

This will be a long-term conversation, Maynard stressed.

At the time of the original meeting, a DraftKings spokesperson told Sports Betting Dime the company declined to participate due to a number of factors.

“After careful consideration, DraftKings decided not to participate in the Massachusetts Gaming Commission roundtable regarding wagering limits, because among other things, any meaningful discussion on wagering limits would necessary involve the disclosure of DraftKings’ confidential risk management practices and other commercially sensitive business information. DraftKings looks forward to working with the Commission to explore alternative ways to contribute to this discussion, while preserving the confidentiality of that information,” the spokesperson said.

BallyBet Working to Launch

In other commission news, the MGC today unanimously approved Bally’s online sports betting house rules. The licensed sportsbook operator is working towards launching online sports betting in Massachusetts on Thursday, June 27.

Bally’s received its initial category 3 sports betting license from the commission in January 2023, but never launched. It re-upped its temporary license with the commission in January for a $1 million renewal fee.

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