MA regulators vote to add age language to stadium sportsbook signs

Gilette Stadium
Image: Shutterstock / Yingna Cai

After weeks of debate and input from operators and state sports teams opposing the measure, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted last week to require any sort of branded sportsbook sign in a sports arena to include language indicating the sportsbook is for those 21 and up.

Commissioner Eileen O’Brien led the charge on a possible measure but was pushing for a more expansive regulation that covered branded signs throughout the state. The other commissioners felt that was too restrictive and pointed to the DraftKings corporate building and Fanatics retail of examples that would be covered under such a broad stroke.

In a compromise, the commissioners agreed to limit the rule to sporting venues like Fenway Park and Gilette Stadium. However, should a brand like Fanatics not opt for an alternative Fanatics Sportsbook logo, the rule would apply to any Fanatics merchandise shops at these facilities.

The commission voted 4-1 to approve the measure, with Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein opposing, noting, “It’s just too much.”

The feedback from teams and operators echoed Judd-Stein’s sentiments in documents submitted to the commission. The Boston Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox co-authored a letter to the commission questioning the necessity of such a measure:

“Is there a real likelihood that the display of a logo by itself on a sign might make minors more interested in betting on sports?”

The teams as well other operators also raised questions about whether a daily fantasy sports logo like DraftKings or FanDuel would need to bear 21+ language when DFS is an 18+ endeavor.

Most operators and teams also questioned why sports betting in particular should be subject to such language when alcohol and, more comparatively, casinos are not subject to such standards.

The MGC disagreed but did move to allow for a 90-day waiver for brands to update existing signage at sports facilities.