WynnBet Receives First Mobile Sportsbook License in Massachusetts

Posted on: December 14, 2022, 10:21h. 

Last updated on: December 14, 2022, 11:57h.

WynnBet made history in Massachusetts by becoming the first online sportsbook to receive a state-issued operator license.

Encore Boston Harbor WynnBet Massachusetts sports betting
Encore Boston Harbor stands tall in Everett, Mass., with the Boston skyline in the background. The Wynn Resorts property is moving closer to launching sports betting both at the casino and online through its WynnBet sportsbook. (Image: Casino.org)

Following nearly seven hours of deliberations, the five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), with the recommendation of the gaming agency’s staff, approved WynnBet as a suitable online sportsbook operator in the commonwealth. WynnBet’s online sports wagering application is in conjunction with Encore Boston Harbor’s Category 1 sports wagering license.

Each of the state’s three brick-and-mortar casinos — Encore, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park — can seek Category 1 sports wagering licenses. The sports gambling licenses allow each casino to operate a retail sportsbook and as many as two online platforms.

WynnBet is a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts, which operates Encore Boston Harbor. WynnBet will run Encore Boston Harbor’s on-site sportsbook and utilize one of the casino’s Category 1 online skins. Operations will only be allowed after a regulatory review of each licensee’s operations.

The MGC deemed Encore Boston Harbor suitable for the Category 1 license package last Friday. Encore was the first casino approved for sports betting following delayed votes regarding Category 1 sports wagering applications from Plainridge and MGM Springfield.

Commissioners last week said they didn’t feel comfortable voting on Plainridge’s application until more information is disclosed regarding the casino’s close sports betting relationship with Barstool Sports’ controversial stockholder and founder Dave Portnoy. A vote on MGM’s application was postponed after commissioners determined they needed more internal information from MGM’s sports betting unit BetMGM.

WynnBet License Comes with Conditions

The MGC’s conditional approval of WynnBet’s online sports betting application came with conditions. Commissioner Jordan Maynard took issue with WynnBet not being prepared to specify the racial breakdown of its workforce.

A major pillar of Massachusetts’ ongoing expansion of gambling is that the industry be inclusive and that a diverse makeup of people be included in each licensed entity’s business.

As a condition of WynnBet being issued its online sports betting operating privilege, the MGC ordered that the sportsbook firm circle back with its diversity breakdown before launching its operations.

Commissioners put conditions on the awarding of this license, including WynnBet providing the MGC with information on the company’s current vendor diversity statistics and establishing goals on diversity spending in advance of operating sports wagering in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” the commission said in a release.

Massachusetts’ 2011 Expanded Gaming Act, which legalized as many as four commercial land-based casinos, requires that licensed gaming operators establish “training programs that promote the development of a skilled and diverse workforce.” The law additionally requires casinos to set diversity hiring goals and plans to achieve such benchmarks, and also give preference to contractors that are minority and/or women-owned.

Casinos are regularly required to submit statistical diversity reports to the MGC. The online sportsbook partners of Category 1 sports wagering licensees aren’t expected to be as heavily scrutinized regarding their diversity metrics. But Maynard and other MGC commissioners said they would like to see where WynnBet and other online applicants stand.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch

Encore Boston Harbor reached an arrangement with Caesars Sportsbook to allow the online sportsbook to use the casino’s other Category 1 online sports betting skin. The MGC is today probing Caesars Sportsbook’s candidacy for market entry.

Massachusetts gaming regulators hope to have in-person sports betting at the state’s three casinos up and running as early as January 2023. Online bets aren’t expected until March.

Massachusetts will tax gross sportsbook revenue at 15%. Online sportsbook income will be taxed higher at 20%.