Massachusetts Gives BetMGM Temporary OK For Mobile Sports Betting License

December 20, 2022
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Massachusetts regulators approved a temporary retail license for the MGM Springfield property and ultimately found BetMGM suitable for a temporary online license on Monday (December 19), following a lengthy discussion and questions regarding the joint venture’s history of regulatory sanctions.

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Massachusetts regulators approved a temporary retail license for the MGM Springfield property and ultimately found BetMGM suitable for a temporary online license on Monday (December 19), following a lengthy discussion and questions regarding the joint venture’s history of regulatory sanctions.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission continued its series of hearings into potential sports betting licensees yesterday, with the topic of the day being MGM’s license applications.

The commission had previously deferred action on the retail license, following a hearing last week, due to questions surrounding the links between the retail property and BetMGM. However, it ultimately granted the license on Monday afternoon.

Questions about BetMGM’s history of regulatory fines, however, continued during a marathon session that extended late into the evening.

Among the concerns from commissioners were questions about Entain’s record £17m ($21m) settlement with the UK Gambling Commission in August for “serious failures” in the areas of social responsibility and anti-money laundering procedures from 2019 to October 2020.

“Of course we admit that at that period, we did not handle those matters to the full liking of the UK Gambling Commission, but we have further improved, enhanced, and bettered all Entain governance processes with particularly focus on responsible gambling and anti-money laundering since,” said Martin Lycka, senior vice president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling at Entain.

Lycka added that the company had materially increased the size of the team looking after responsible gaming, as well as stepping up internal training and bringing in a third party to review governance processes, as well as rolling out a new “Advanced Responsibility and Care” program to better use technology to monitor potentially at-risk players.

Regulators also grilled the company on other recent sanctions, including a $146,000 fine issued last week by Maryland gaming regulator for taking bets prior to the state’s November 23 launch date.

Following further questions about the sanctions issued by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regarding the allowing of bets with credit cards that ensnared several sports betting operators, the commission ultimately elected to grant a finding of preliminary suitability with several conditions. These conditions included continued updates on two confidential investigations that the company reported to the commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.

The finding allows the company to seek a temporary license that would permit BetMGM to launch a mobile sportsbook as early as March.

However, the timeline could still be flexible depending on how quickly the commission moves through the remaining applicants. To date, the commission has only granted two retail licenses, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, and two online suitability findings, BetMGM and WynnBET.

The commission is set to resume its hearings on Tuesday to discuss a potential mobile license for Caesars Entertainment, as well as retail and mobile licenses for Penn Entertainment.

Both the Penn retail license and the Caesars mobile license have already seen decisions deferred once by the commission over various issues, with the Penn license being held up due to questions regarding the company’s Barstool Sports brand that could re-emerge during the follow-up hearing.

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