BetMGM Massachusetts conditionally approved for an online betting license

Image: Shutterstock

After another marathon Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting, MGM Springfield has been approved for a retail sports betting license, while BetMGM has been approved as an online sportsbook in the Commonwealth.

BetMGM Massachusetts is now approved for a one-year temporary license once the $1 million licensing fee is paid and certain conditions are met.

Like the other approved online operator, WynnBet, BetMGM’s approval is conditional, pending the submission of paperwork related to diversity in vendors. There was also a condition attached that required BetMGM to report to the MGC Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) any updates related to pending litigation in an ongoing patent infringement lawsuit involving GAN. Earlier this year, GAN sued MGM Resorts over the technology tethering its online and land-based rewards program together.

The second confidential matter could be the pending criminal investigation of insider trading charges around the sale of LeoVegas to MGM Resorts, which was a topic Commissioner Eileen O’Brien briefly mentioned in the discussion leading up to the executive session.

The application hearing included what has become par for the course for the MGC, which is detailed questions on every section of the application. For BetMGM, the sticking points that produced the most conversations were Entain’s suitability and the various fines BetMGM has incurred across several jurisdictions.

The commission took to a confidential executive session to elaborate on the £17 million fine UK regulators levied against Entain for compliance failures, including insufficient source of fund checks and not following full responsible gambling measures. It is the largest penalty the UK Gaming Commission has ever levied.

Entain and MGM Resorts evenly split ownership of BetMGM. Accordingly, Entain as its own entity is not subject to the same vetting process as BetMGM, but nonetheless provided ample paperwork as a key stakeholder. Once the issue was discussed in executive session, the five commissioners agreed the issue had been adequately discussed and explained.

Up next for the MGC is the Plainridge Park retail sportsbook application, which was not voted on because of concerns related to its ties to Barstool Sports. First on the agenda on Tuesday, however, will be the completion of the application for Caesars Sportsbook, which is partnered with Encore Boston Harbor.