Encore Boston Harbor earns first retail MA sports betting license

Massachusetts has granted its first sports betting license to Encore Boston Harbor ahead of the state’s sports wagering market launch.
Image: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has granted its first sports betting license to Encore Boston Harbor ahead of the state’s expected market launch of sports wagering in January.

In a recent release, the MGC confirmed it awarded a Category One Sports Wagering Operator license to the Wynn Resorts-operated Encore Boston Harbor.

However, while Encore Boston Harbor’s application has been approved, PENN Entertainment-owned Plainridge Park and MGM Springfield are still waiting for their licenses as the MGC wishes to gather more information about their applications, specifically PENN’s partnership with Barstool Sportsbook and MGM’s lack of clarity with its retail sports betting application.

To launch its sports betting operations in the Bay State, the casino must now obtain a certificate of operations and meet additional conditions.

Under a Category One license, Encore Boston Harbor will be allowed to operate in-person sports betting at its casino and on up to two online platforms. Last week’s approval allows for retail sports betting, while its online operations still need to be vetted.

The MGC added that more information about the launch date for retail sports betting in the Bay State will be made available in the next few weeks.

In November, the Bay State’s gaming commission revealed the state’s sports betting license applicants across both retail and online.

The MGC received 12 sports betting license applicants, including five online sportsbook Category Three licenses tethered to state casino Category One licenses were applied for, and the MGC will review these applications this week.

Encore Boston Harbor will run online operations with WynnBet and Caesars Sportsbook as previously announced. PENN’s Plainridge Park will use one license for its own Barstool Sportsbook and the other for the yet-to-launch Fanatics Sportsbook. Meanwhile, MGM Springfield will only use one of its two licenses for BetMGM

The MGC also received six Category Three untethered operating licenses for online sports betting,Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet, while the state’s two racetracks, Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park, did not file for Category Two licenses yet, but plan to in the future.

Last month, Wynn Resorts completed its Encore Boston Harbor transaction with Realty Income Corporation, selling the land and real estate of the property for $1.7bn.

Under the terms of the sale, Encore Boston Harbor will continue to be operated by Wynn Resorts via a triple net lease agreement with Realty Income.