Massachusetts Gaming Regulators Contract Consultants to Expedite Sports Betting

Posted on: October 14, 2022, 01:31h. 

Last updated on: October 14, 2022, 01:56h.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is facing much criticism for its slow pace in allowing legal sports betting operations to begin. In an effort to accelerate the process, the regulatory committee has contracted independent third parties.

Massachusetts sports betting MGC sportsbook
The WynnBet Sports Bar at Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts is ready to transition into a full-fledged sportsbook once given the regulatory go-ahead from the state. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is hoping to streamline the launch of retail and online sportsbooks by contracting third-party firms skilled in such gaming regulatory matters. (Image: Boston Globe)

The MGC is tasked with determining how sportsbook licenses will be distributed and the governing conditions of the forthcoming industry. The commission has been slow to decide numerous critical components, including if college sports taking place inside the commonwealth or games involving a state university will be permitted.

The agency must also decide the application criteria that will assure the state’s goal of authorizing sports gambling in a “diverse, equitable, and inclusive” manner is achieved.

Massachusetts lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) legalized sports betting earlier this year. The statute subjects retail sportsbooks to a 12.5% tax on sports betting revenue and 15% for online books. Each approved operator will need to pay the state a $5 million licensing fee every five years.

Aside from those regulations, the MGC has the responsibility of finalizing all other governing sports wagering conditions.

Contracted Parties

MGC Executive Director Karen Wells updated the five commissioners this week regarding third-party contracts.

The commission’s chief of staff said audit and consulting firm RSM has been brought on to assist the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau with background checks. RSM is based in Chicago.

Wells also explained that Gaming Laboratories International, a New Jersey firm specializing in iGaming and online sports betting testing and regulatory compliance, has been contracted to help the state with its technical standards and internal controls. Wells said the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit will assist the MGC in determining the suitability of sportsbook applicants.

The MGC executive director summarized that the third-party contracts will “be huge for our implementation timeline.”

It’s a great win for the MGC to get them on board. I know the team is really excited to have this kind of level of help and this level of professionalism,” Wells concluded, as reported by the State House News Service in Massachusetts.

The gaming commission has set the goal of having brick-and-mortar sports betting up and running in time for the Super Bowl on February 12, 2023.

March Targeted for Mobile

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission hopes to allow in-person sports betting at the state’s three casinos by late January 2023. Online operations are set to follow a month or two later.

Wells said the goal is to have retail and online sportsbooks taking wagers by “early March.” The MGC executive said sports betting has added additional duties to her staff. But the agency is working diligently to implement the 2022 law.

“As you know, we all have our day jobs, we still run an agency here. So, bringing in that assistance is critical to us with the timeline,” Wells explained to the MGC.