The Massachusetts Gambling Commission met Thursday morning to hear from the state’s three casinos and simulcast facilities how they are preparing for in-person sports betting. Last week, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law making the measure legal.
The conversation is part of a series of roundtable meetings the Commission plans to host with potential sports betting stakeholders, which will begin at 10am and run for several hours. Lawmakers reached a compromise earlier this summer, as the commission began to chart the first path to enforcing a complex and nuanced sports betting law.
At a meeting last week, committee chair Kathy Judstein said Massachusetts “because they are in a different position” when it comes to sports betting compared to those applying for one of seven mobile betting licenses. said it would take up discussions with its current licensees.
“We at MGC will work with our current and prospective licensees to set the necessary operational framework to ensure the integrity that sports betting activities here in the Commonwealth are expected to have and the consumer protections you and the sports community deserve. We have to,” Stein said.
The agenda shows that the conference is divided into five parts, with representatives from Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, Suffolk Downs and Rainham Park all present.
The conversation first turns to presentations from each entity regarding the initial preparations for face-to-face sports betting. Discussions then focus on operational considerations such as staffing, house rules, security, facilities, technology, and challenges that have already been identified.
The committee and stakeholders will then brief operators and vendors on licensing procedures before taking a lunch break. Coming back, the agenda indicates that the conference will focus on responsible gaming, advertising, and marketing guidelines before moving on to discussions on timelines.
A full agenda is available online. The meeting will be streamed live on the Game Commission website.
At last week’s meeting, staff and commissioners began identifying initial topics that require swift regulatory action and the necessary steps to keep the industry running. This includes knowing the number of potential mobile license applicants and entering their application details.
Rep. and governor Charlie Baker gave the Gaming Commission broad powers to regulate Massachusetts’ fledgling sports betting industry, Judstein noted last week.
“The commission is digging into this law,” she said. “This is very complex and may require adjustments during the planning process. When they come out, we will work with Congress and the governor’s office on any necessary modifications.”
The group identified over 200 potential regulations that need to be addressed. Deputy General Counsel Kaitlyn Monahan previously said the committee’s attorneys were drafting the bill.
“You may be asking yourself, ‘How do we survive the Section 225 regulation?'” she said. “We have to prioritize in some way, shape, form. That’s why the regulation she created three priorities. .”
Advanced sports players may have to wait months before they can even set foot in a facility or open an app on their phone to place a bet. The commissioner made it clear earlier this month that there is a lot of work to be done to get the industry back on track.
Just days before Baker signed the sports betting bill into law, Commissioner Brad Hill said getting the industry up and running “doesn’t happen overnight.”
“I’m not speaking for the entire committee, at least in my view, but in my view this is going to take a little longer than people are probably expecting,” the representative said.