As has often been the case with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission hearings for sports betting licenses, the group once again ran out of time during its Thursday meeting before reaching a point where they could vote on the application from Fanatics Sportsbook.
Michael Rubin suitability certificate still missing from application
However, it does appear Fanatics has some work to do in order to complete its application fully. For example, the suitability certificate for Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin is still pending. Over the course of the meeting though, the certificate is one of many issues the MGC flagged as worth a more fulsome discussion.
Unlike other applicants that are already live in other states, Fanatics Sportsbook is not operational anywhere. As a result, there was some disagreement among commissioners about how robust the application should be. Some, like Commissioner Eileen O’Brien and Commission Nakisha Skinner, wanted more information about topics such as responsible gambling specifically because there aren’t other states to base decisions on.
O’Brien also had several questions that will likely be answered in executive session around how the parent company of Fanatics relates to Fanatics Sportsbook. During the first day of discussion with Fanatics, she brought up concerns about what responsible gambling measures are in place to ensure that the leveraging of the Fanatics merchandise and collectible databases are done in a thoughtful and careful manner.
Trio of legal issues to be discussed in Fanatics executive session
Executive session will also be a time when Fanatics Sportsbook will discuss a trio of legal matters related to its parent company.
Commissioner Bradford Hill was notified of a lawsuit against Fanatics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Fanatics eventually settled for over $320,000. In the press release for the settlement, it stated that the Fanatics office in Jacksonville was racially divided and employees frequently used racial slurs and made insensitive comments towards Black co-workers.
O’Brien wants to visit the pending anti-trust lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Fanatics filed last year. The plaintiff, Casey’s Distributing, alleges MLB is unfairly favoring Fanatics on the sale of league-licensed merchandise.
Finally, executive session will address a New York case where Fanatics paid over $1.5 million after the state alleged they were improperly collecting sales tax on sales within the state.
Fanatics Sportsbook will return to MGC later this month
As has been the case with just about every applicant, the MGC would also like expanded diversity, equality, and inclusion figures including specific goals and benchmarks for both diversity hiring and diversity among vendor agreements.
The group did not make it into executive session on Thursday. With the schedule set to start hearing untethered online license applications Friday morning, it will later this month before Fanatics will return to the commission to proceed with the rest of the application process.