PointsBet, an Australian-based digital betting company, is pulling out of the brand-new Massachusetts sports betting market after months of working with regulators to launch a mobile sportsbook here, gaming regulators said on Thursday.
It is the second time a company has publicly announced its intention to withdraw from the Bay State betting market, which just began in-person betting on January 31st and plans to begin mobile betting on March 10th. Bet365 announced last month that it was dropping an offer to offer mobile betting linked to Raynham Park.
The withdrawal will leave another mobile betting license not tied to a land-based casino pending approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Regulators earlier this year approved six unaffiliated sports betting companies to operate mobile or digital products in Massachusetts, and only five remain after PointsBet’s decision to leave the company.
Read more: With Massachusetts sports betting market taking off, its future remains bleak
It comes as some industry analysts give a mixed outlook on the future of Massachusetts’ ability to retain all of the mobile betting companies that originally submitted applications to the Gambling Commission, whether or not they are affiliated with a brick-and-mortar operation.
MGC Executive Director Karen Wells said PointsBet communicated their intention to withdraw their application in a letter Wednesday night.
“This is a new development,” Wells said, adding that the company has neither filed the $1 million temporary license fee nor applied for a temporary license. Companies also eventually have to pay over $5 million to regulators after receiving their full sports betting license. The company also paid a $200,000 filing fee to the commission.
A PointsBet spokesperson said in a statement to MassLive that the company decided to withdraw its application to “emphasise our continued focus on our live 14 states of the US (plus Ontario) and how we can best optimize these markets, which offer immense potential [total addressable market] to go for us.”
“We would like to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for reviewing our application, conducting extensive hearings and deeming PointsBet eligible for licensing before legalizing sports betting in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” the spokesman said.
In Wednesday’s letter to Wells, PointsBet COO Johnny Aitken did not provide a detailed reason for the withdrawal of the company’s sports betting application, although he acknowledges the Gambling Commission’s “immeasurable efforts.”
“PointsBet withdraws its business entity disclosure application submitted for consideration as a Category 3 licensee and all related business entity disclosures and individual qualification requests filed on its behalf,” Aitken said in the letter, from to which MassLive has been provided a copy by regulatory authorities.
What PointsBet said in 2022
In their original application to regulators in November 2022, PointsBet officials had said they were “well positioned” to adapt their mobile betting platform to meet “all the necessary requirements for a successful and timely launch within the Commonwealth”.
“PointsBet’s experienced multidisciplinary implementation teams have demonstrated our agile, flexible and rapid deployment capabilities as they have rolled out the PointsBet technology platform and marketing campaigns in each new jurisdiction PointsBet has entered,” the company later wrote in the document. “PointsBet will leverage our experienced go-to-market planning and launch execution in Massachusetts.”
The company said it has no office space in Massachusetts but is “considering hiring suitable candidates as Commonwealth employees for remote positions as appropriate.”
“In previous jurisdictions where PointsBet has commenced operations, there has been an expansion of resources and locations across the United States,” the 2022 filing reads Country to expand and Massachusetts would be another great opportunity to explore similar expansions.”
What companies are in the mobile betting mix?
Regulators on Thursday approved nine temporary mobile betting licenses ahead of the March 10 launch. These include licenses for BallyBet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Betr, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel and WynnBET.
BallyBet, an untied mobile license, and Fanatics, whose license is linked to Plainridge Park Casino, told regulators they will not launch on March 10 but plan to go live sometime in May.
Betway told regulators “they will soon be filing an application for a temporary license as well as the $1 million royalty,” a commission spokesman said.
“They won’t start in the Commonwealth for about a year, though,” the spokesman said.