Sports Betting

Major sports betting operators in Massachusetts skipped a roundtable conference held by the MGC

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Massachusetts Gaming Commission pic

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 legal sportsbooks in Massachusetts should have attended a public roundtable on wagering limits. They failed to show up and left state regulators in a bad mood. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) noted that they received emails from state sports betting operators. They did not want to risk leaking confidential information or other sensitive business topics in public. Betting operators in Massachusetts were under no legal obligation to attend the session held by the MGC. 

With current regulations in Massachusetts, state gaming regulators can limit winning bettors from placing wagers. That’s not true for every customer, but it’s becoming worse and worse and sports betting grows in popularity. On Tuesday. The MGC was not going to decide on a new policy in one session. Interim MGC chair Jordan Maynard noted that they were disappointed that no sportsbook attended except for Bally’s. However, they have yet to launch as a legal sportsbook in Massachusetts. That’s expected to happen at the end of June.

Why did Massachusetts sportsbooks refuse to attend a round table conference on Tuesday?

According to gaming legal expert John Holden, betting operators not showing up on Tuesday speaks volumes. It signals that any changes down the line are going to happen extremely slowly. Holden mentioned how the MGC and state operators need to find a delicate balance. The MGC is always going to have the customer’s best interest in mind. He noted that the MGC and state operators need to have a working relationship. Something they do not currently have. If they did, then the operators would have shown up to the round table conference. 

MGC Commissioner Nakisha Skinner said that the primary stakeholders not being part of the roundtable discussion was not a proper use of their time. Additionally, Bradford Hill mentioned the MGC did not reach the starting point they had hoped to on Tuesday. At the roundtable, Jack Andrews was representing the betting public. Andrews noted that betting operators in the state have failed to post limits on their platforms. He had this to say.

For most bettors that get limited, there’s actually no notification. They just submit a bet, and the sportsbook says no, that’s more than we’ll allow, try again,” Andrews said. “And often times they have to try again and again and again until they find what their limit is. It’s not posted.”

There needs to be a distinction between limits set for responsible gaming and for bettors who are simply winning at a high rate. Those are two completely different circumstances. That’s a major issue that state operators in Massachusetts need to handle at some point.