Massachusetts regulators are finalizing rules for mobile sports betting with launch imminent

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also heard that another online sportsbook has no plans to go live on Friday, giving the state up to six potential operators at launch.

Last Updated: Mar 8, 2023 5:36 PM ET Read Time: 3 min

Massachusetts regulators are putting the finishing touches on the rules that will govern online sports betting sites in the Bay State.

Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) met Wednesday for one of the few remaining gatherings they will have ahead of the scheduled launch of online sports betting in the state on Friday.

One issue they raised was tweaking a rule that would allow the regulator or operators to ban people for certain reasons, such as: B. prior violations of gambling laws or “a notorious or objectionable reputation” that could undermine public confidence in banning people from sports betting in Massachusetts.

“This regulation is proposed for emergency passage to ensure it comes into force before mobile sports betting takes off,” read a memo to the commissioners.

Rules are rules

A similar list of excluded customers already exists for casinos, and the list is about 58 people, MGC heard. The tool is now to be used in connection with online sports betting.

“Most of the amendments to the regulation incorporate sports betting within the existing framework of the regulation on exclusion,” the memo said. “An individual can be listed for misconduct in either area, and individuals on the list must be both physically banned from casinos and prevented from placing sports bets through a mobile or digital platform.”

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The MGC approved the amended regulation, but with an exemption that gives operators a little more time to submit written guidelines to comply with the blacklist program.

“I think we’ve all stressed the importance of making sure that those who aren’t allowed to bet, who aren’t allowed to bet, can’t bet either,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said during Wednesday’s meeting.

The MGC also looked at other rules on Wednesday. The reviews are among the final steps regulators will take ahead of March 10, the date the MGC has circled for launching mobile sports betting in the state.

Legal sports betting began in Massachusetts on Jan. 31 when three casinos began taking action. But based on the work of the MGC and what the operators say, as many as six online sportsbooks could go live in Massachusetts around 10 a.m. ET on Friday. They are:

Betr was expected to be among sportsbooks launching on the first day of mobile betting, but Judd-Stein said Wednesday the micro-betting-focused company would not.

“At Betr, our priority is to provide our users with the best possible experience while using our app,” the company said in a statement to Covers. “As we continue to work to ensure we can deliver that in Massachusetts, we now plan to launch sometime next month rather than this Friday.” We would like to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for all their hard work and cooperation. This is an important milestone for us and we can’t wait to bring our differentiated product experience to sports fans across the country.”

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Time was also taken on Wednesday to address bookmakers’ house rules, which bettors can turn to if they have questions about the settlement of specific bets. This included a discussion of whether an operator could round the number of cents paid to a bettor. According to the Commission, operators can only round up.

“The patron is entitled to every penny of their profits,” Commissioner Nakisha Skinner said.

However, the commissioners got bogged down in discussing “obvious errors” that could allow bookmakers to void a bet or correct their prices. Some of the more subjective criteria caused a stir at the MGC as work on the House Rules continues on Thursday.

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