MGM Springfield Sports Betting Application Late, State Makes Concession

Posted on: November 30, 2022, 11:26h. 

Last updated on: November 30, 2022, 11:57h.

MGM Springfield has been afforded a rare pardon for committing a regulatory infraction with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

MGM Springfield Massachusetts sports betting
MGM Springfield is ready to bring legal sports betting to its sports lounge. But the Massachusetts casino failed to properly submit its retail sports betting application to the state earlier this month. Gaming regulators agreed to accept the late bid anyway, which keeps sports betting’s launch in Springfield on the January 2023 commencement timeline. (Image: MGM Springfield)

The MGC concluded its first open bidding round for the state’s forthcoming sports betting industry earlier this month. The state gaming regulator said last week that it received 15 applications for all classes of its sports betting licensing categories.

It was later revealed that MGM Springfield, one of the state’s two resort-casino properties — Encore Boston Harbor being the other — failed to properly submit its Category 1 sportsbook facility application for retail betting privileges. MGC staff said the casino did properly submit its Category 3 online sports betting license for its digital unit BetMGM ahead of the commission’s November 22 bidding window closing.

State Provides Forgiveness

Augustine Kim, vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, appeared before the MGC during the commission’s meeting on Tuesday to ask for forgiveness for the Category 1 filing error.

There was a miscommunication. It was completely my fault,” Kim told the commissioners. “I apologize. I am so sorry.”

“But as soon as we realized there was an issue, we corrected the problem. All of the paperwork is in, so we ask that the commissioners approve the processing of our application,” Kim pleaded.

MGC Executive Director Karen Wells said the issue required a vote from the commissioners. Wells also said the commissioners shouldn’t be overly worried about voting in favor of allowing MGM Springfield’s licensing application to be processed. That’s because the three casinos are not actually bidding competitively for sports betting privileges.

Wells explained that the state’s sports betting law provides three Category 1 sports betting licenses that are only available for MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park. As a result, MGM Springfield isn’t directly competing against other bidding entities that properly submitted their applications.

“The delay of a couple of days does not impact any other party and no other party would be aggrieved,” Wells clarified.

Following Wells’ input, the five MGC commissioners voted unanimously in favor of allowing MGM Springfield’s late Category 1 submission to be grouped into the state’s initial bunch of sports betting applications.

January Launch

If the ruling had gone the other way, the casino wouldn’t be allowed to commence retail sports betting operations in early January when the first legal bets in the commonwealth are expected to begin.

The MGC has set a January 2023 goal of having in-person sports betting operational at the three casinos. Online operations are expected in March.

Along with the three casinos, Massachusetts’ sports gambling law allows for in-person sports betting at the state’s two horse racetracks. Neither Suffolk Downs nor Raynham Park submitted sports betting applications before the November 22 closing of the MGC’s first bidding window. Both tracks say they are readying future bids.

Along with the casino applicants and their mobile partners — Encore Boston Harbor and WynnBet, MGM Springfield and BetMGM, and Plainridge and Barstool — nine firms are seeking fully online sports betting privileges. Those applying entities are Caesars Sportsbook, Fanatics, Bally Bet, bet365, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet.