The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is nearing the end of its initial review of sports betting applications and preparing for the start of public in-person betting on January 31.
On Thursday, commissioners voted unanimously to approve temporary licensure for Bally Bet, FanDuel, DraftKings, Betway and PointsBet; while the application for Jake Paul’s micro-betting brand Betr was deemed preliminarily suitable for temporary licensure in a vote 4-1.
Thus, the commission gave all six companies that applied to offer mobile sports betting not tied to a brick-and-mortar an initial green light. The votes came just under two weeks before in-person sports wagering is scheduled to launch. However, these pre-approved companies cannot immediately start accepting bets, as there are hurdles they still need to address before mobile betting launches at some point in March.
State law allows the commission to award up to seven mobile sports wagering licenses. Only six companies submitted full applications, leaving one spot to offer mobile betting not associated with a casino up for grabs.
The regulator spent the past several weeks pouring over applications from each of the companies, in a similar process to the series of meetings commissioners held on sports betting licenses for the state’s three casinos and their affiliated mobile offerings. But in-person betting is expected to start at the end of this month, the commission has slated mobile betting for an “early March” start.
According to NBC Boston, an additional meeting might be in the cards for today, in which commissioners could be asked to approve the house rules and floor plans for the so-called Category 1 operators that will be the first to take bets (Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor). Those facilities could be up for votes on their certificates of operation at a meeting that could be held January 25, according to commission documents.
Late in December, the regulator agreed to hold a “soft launch” of in-person betting at each facility on January 30 in order to observe how they handle taking bets from staff and invited guests. In-person betting would become available to the public the following day.
At a meeting last week, Gaming Commission Executive Director Karen Wells said the commission was “on target” to launch in-person betting on time, as reported by Mass Live.
Gaming Labs International confirmed it is scheduled to complete final compliance checks and walkthroughs of the three casinos on January 30. “We have confirmed that all betting should be tested in advance and that should be good to go,” Wells added.