The gaming regulator for the American state of Massachusetts has reportedly rejected an appeal from DraftKings Incorporated for the jurisdiction to simultaneously launch regulated retail and online sportsbetting services.
According to a Thursday report from the Boston Herald newspaper, the rebuff from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission means that the state will be keeping to its plan to premiere retail sportsbooks from late-January before following with an online complement some two months later. The source detailed that Boston-headquartered DraftKings Incorporated had been advocating for concurrent debuts over fears that the current policy could give land-based casinos an unfair advantage.
Massachusetts is home to approximately seven million people and reportedly ratified legislation in August that is destined to see it become the latest American state to take advantage of the 2018 revocation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was later purportedly tasked with drawing up the rules for the jurisdiction’s legalized sportsbetting market and resolved earlier this month to allow the MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and slots-only Plainridge Park Casino properties to roll-out retail sportsbooks from ‘late January.’
However, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission reportedly believes that establishing the specific regulations for the premiere of mobile-friendly online sportsbetting services in ‘The Bay State’ will take longer and used its most recent October 7 meeting to settle only on a remote launch date in ‘early March’. DraftKings Incorporated is one of the largest providers of sports wagering entertainment in the United States and purportedly responded this this decision by asserting that such a move would be unfair because it would give land-based enterprises the ability to pre-emptively build up their customer lists.
The appeal from DraftKings Incorporated reportedly read…
“We write to ask that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission reconsider the publicly communicated timelines for launching sports wagering in the commonwealth to allow for retail and mobile operators to go live at the same time. It is clear that the timeline decision was made not for policy reasons but, rather, because the Massachusetts Gaming Commission believes that it will be a challenge to promulgate regulations in a timely manner.”
In responding to this request and the five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission reportedly disclosed that it will be required to draft, review and adopt roughly 225 new regulations before allowing online sportsbetting to go live. The regulator purportedly went on to note that this complicated process is destined to take many months to complete and that it intends to start notifying potential license qualifiers only from later today.
In disagreeing with the petition from DraftKings Incorporated and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s general counsel, Todd Grossman, reportedly proclaimed that the focus of the regulator now has ‘to be on the regulations’ and he believes ‘the trains are running on schedule and we’re continuing to gain steam’.
Grossman reportedly told the newspaper…
“The framework is continuing to take shape and the licensing framework itself you’ll be looking at shortly as well. That’s a critical piece of the process including things like temporary licensure, suitability, the conditions and the fees associated with the awards of the licenses; the review of which will begin today.”