The Massachusetts Gaming Commission granted Thursday temporary sports betting licenses to nine operators ahead of March’s mobile launch. Additionally, regulators also heard that PointsBet has decided to abandon plans to enter the Bay State’s wagering market.
Operators approved for temporary one-year permits paid a $1 million fee ahead of March 10, the tentative start for Massachusetts online wagering. However, not all of them will be able to debut upon market launch. The list of brands greenlighted Thursday includes:
- Bally Bet
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
In conversation with regulators, officials for Bally Bet and Fanatics indicated they are not planning to launch in the state until May. While the full list of approved entities for temporary licenses actually encompassed 11 operators, Betway expects to launch in about a year, and PointsBet has decided to drop its plans to enter Massachusetts.
PointsBet, a digital betting company first founded in Australia, is pulling out after working for months with regulators to launch. It is the second time a company has publicly announced its intent to withdraw from the Bay State betting market: bet365 announced last month that it was dropping a bid to offer mobile betting connected to Raynham Park.
The withdrawal will leave another mobile betting license not tied to a land-based casino up for grabs, pending Gaming Commission approval, reports MassLive. Regulators approved six untethered sports betting companies earlier this year to operate mobile or digital products in Massachusetts, and only five remain after PointsBet’s decision to leave.
PointsBet’s decision to leave comes as some industry analysts offer a mixed outlook on the future of Massachusetts’ ability to retain all of the mobile wagering companies that originally sent applications to the Gaming Commission, whether tied to a brick-and-mortar operation or not.
According to local media reports, the promise the industry holds for state coffers appears to be only a fraction of a typical state budget based on the few public tax revenue predictions that have been made. And with inflation continuing to play a role and fears of a recession persisting, some analysts believe smaller wagering businesses could end up leaving Massachusetts as major players like FanDuel and DraftKings eat up large portions of the market share.
A PointsBet spokesperson said in a statement to MassLive that the company decided to withdraw its application to “emphasize our continued focus on our 14 live states of the US (plus Ontario) and how we can best optimize those markets which provide an immense [total addressable market] for us to go after.”
Retail sports betting began in the Bay State on January 31 at three casinos. Now, the MGC continues to work on the various regulations that will govern the state’s wagering market ahead of the planned March 10 online launch. It is also trying to decide what to do with the casinos after all three reported accidentally offering some forbidden betting markets.