Standalone online Massachusetts sports betting licenses were handed out by state regulators this past Thursday, as all but one operator received a unanimous vote in favor.
Betr was the outlier, the sportsbook operator owned and promoted by social media sensation turned boxer Jake Paul. And to no surprise, Paul was the center of attention again. Commissioner Eileen O’Brien voted against Betr receiving a MA sports betting license due to responsible gambling concerns over Paul’s involvement.
However, Betr still received a license, with total votes favoring them 4-1.
Five of the six betting operators received a 5-0 unanimous vote from the MA Gaming Commission:
- Bally Bet
Cathy Judd-Stein, Chairwoman of the MGC, commented: “I wish I could say the party can begin. But as we all acknowledge, there’s still a lot of hard work. But today was a good milestone.”
Timeline for Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch
The launch of legalized online sports betting in MA is predicted to launch in March, ahead of the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
As well as the aforementioned sportsbooks that received licenses, the following brands make up the complete 11 operators presented with licenses by state regulators:
Bet365, which recently teamed with Raynham Park, is currently under review.
MGC Commissioner, Jordan Maynard, said: “I’m bullish on these applicants’ ability to provide the Commonwealth a safe forum to engage in this new and exciting form of entertainment. I have faith that this will bring bettors back from other jurisdictions. And, more importantly, out of the illegal market and into the legal market.”
O’Brien vs. Jake Paul & Betr
O’Brien referred to herself as the “naysayer” of the MGC. She also went into further detail as to why she voted against Betr and the company’s co-owner, Jake Paul:
“I was conflicted on this application.” She commented. “I see the merits, the positives, and the negatives. But at the end of the day, I have concerns, particularly about the last criterion, on balance, whether the overall benefits minimize the harms and risks.
“I have concerns about the demographic and trying of a sports celebrity to a group in that vulnerable age group. I wish we had seen this applicant a little later down the road. And so, for those reasons, I’m nay.”
State regulators put Paul in the hot seat during Betr’s suitability review. Numerous legal matters were highlighted as O’Brien herself pinpointed the concerns surrounding Paul. She seemed displeased with Betr’s supporting material, singling out their ability to “check the boxes” and nothing more.
What’s Next for Massachusetts Sports Betting?
Physical sportsbooks will launch on Jan. 31, 2023, in MA. The MGC will host a meeting on Friday, Jan. 27 to talk through the wagering regulations.
MGC Commissioner Nakisha Skinner previously addressed and praised the staff: “I didn’t think we could do it in the aggressive timeline that was put forth, and you know I was very vocal about that.
“But that had nothing to do with my impression of any of you or your ability to get the work done. I thought it was just a lot. And I worried about our collective mental and physical health. But you have shined throughout this process.”