Mobile Sports Betting Applicants Clear Licensing Hurdle

In-person betting is scheduled to begin Jan. 31 at the three facilities that secured so-called Category 1 licenses

Gaming regulators on Thursday found all six prospective mobile sports betting operators unconnected to brick-and-mortar gambling centers preliminarily suitable for temporary licenses.

After nearly two weeks of application reviews and consideration, the Gaming Commission cleared Bally's Interactive, Betfair Interactive US (d/b/a FanDuel), Betr Holdings, Crown MA Gaming (DraftKings), Digital Gaming Corporation USA, and PointsBet Massachusetts to formally request a temporary license. The commission voted unanimously to find five of the six applications suitable, and voted 4-1 on the suitability of Betr.

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State regulators voted unanimously Monday to award the second in-person sports betting license in Massachusetts to MGM Springfield, allowing the casino to expand its offerings.

In-person betting is scheduled to begin Jan. 31 at the three facilities that secured so-called Category 1 licenses: Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.

Mobile betting will follow in early March.

In addition to the six applicants cleared Thursday to move ahead in the process, the Gaming Commission has also found five operators that will be tethered to one of the Category 1 licensees preliminarily suitable to conduct mobile wagering: WynnBet, Caesars, BetMGM, Penn Sports Interactive/Barstool Sportsbook, and Fanatics Betting & Gaming.

People are expected to be able to bet on sports in-person by late January, with online betting not being allowed until March.

Massachusetts' sports betting law allows the commission to award a maximum of seven untethered mobile betting licenses, but despite early concerns that regulators could be deluged with a huge number of applications, the six operators cleared Thursday were the only ones to apply. The law also makes horse tracks and simulcast centers eligible to apply for in-person betting licenses, but the commission has not yet begun that process after hearing late last year from the state's simulcast centers that they were not quite ready to launch betting.

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