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Regulators provide clarity on sports betting applications for horse tracks and sims

Regulators provide clarity on sports betting applications for horse tracks and sims

Massachusetts gaming regulators voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to accept sports betting applications from horse racing centers and simulcasts on a rolling basis, a chapter on the upcoming deadline for online casinos and operators later this month.

Two companies — Raynham Park and Sterling Suffolk Racecourse — have filed preliminary papers with the Massachusetts Games Commission to begin the process of implementing in-category sports betting for horse racing and simulcast tracks.

The timeline on which sports betting at those companies might start has remained murky over the past few months, with Raynham Park and Sterling Suffolk Racecourse telling regulators they need more time to assess their needs, find a sports partner and financially solidify. sites.

  • Read more: Back deals between sports betting applicants underway as launch approaches

During a virtual committee meeting on Thursday, representatives of both parties said they would not be able to submit a full sports betting application by the November 21 deadline set for online casinos and businesses.

Stirling Racecourse Suffolk and Raynham Park will need to strike a deal with a sportsbook to operate their online and retail betting operations.

Raymond’s legal attorney, Steve Eshel, who represents Raynham Park, said the company is “within two weeks, hopefully or less” of naming a partnership for the athletes, though he declined to go into details on Thursday.

“We are negotiating term sheets and trying to finish those negotiations with two potential, I should say many potential operators,” Eshel said.

Eshel told MassLive last week that Raynham Park is looking for a sportsbook deal that “will give us the largest expected market share,” adding that that can only happen with an operating partner who is a major player and who has real credibility in both the consumer market and with the gaming commission.” .

Bruce Barnett, an attorney for DLA Piper, who represents Stirling Suffolk Racecourse, said the company was “not in a position to deliver” anything resembling a full order” by November 21.

“We have been communicating, in conversations with many of the top operators. Given the kind of strategic and competitive sensitivities, we don’t feel we can provide much detail about exactly what is going on. [with] “Negotiations, but we are moving forward,” Barnett said. “Hopefully we’ll have something soon that we can sort of present to the public and present to the committee.”

  • Read more: Games organizers put aside DraftKings’ request to reconsider their sports betting schedule

Sterling Racecourse Suffolk also finds itself in a unique location compared to Raynham Park. While the latter is building a 30,000 square foot gaming space in Bristol County that will house retail sports betting, the former still needs to find a physical location.

In a statement to MassLive earlier this week, Michael Buckley, chief operating officer of the new Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, said the company is “actively working on a number of fronts, including identifying and vetting best-in-class sports betting operators to collaborate with Sterling Suffolk.” In the opening of a major venue for sports betting.”

The Gaming Commission voted last month to approve the launch of retail betting in casinos in late January, and the start of online betting in early March.

The regulators have left themselves room to postpone these dates if they need more time to sort out regulations, process applications and facilitate the competitive bidding process for the seven unrestricted sports betting licenses.

But the application process for personal betting in casinos and online licenses not constrained by a physical process is well underway. A large group of companies indicated their desire to apply for sports betting licenses last month through a preliminary survey ahead of the full application deadline.

Also at a gaming commission meeting on Thursday, commissioners approved a set of six regulations that make up the Sports Betting Operators Licensing Framework. This includes rules regarding licensing fees, interim licensing procedures, and suitability determinations, among other things.

  • Read more: Collegiate Games Committee ‘on time’ with sports betting regulations

The organizers also discussed at length a regulation banning minors and young adults from sports betting. The committee postponed a vote on the regulation, deciding to discuss it again next week after the committee asked Elaine O’Brien for more time to revise language around access to sports betting booths.

The panel voted unanimously Thursday to interpret the language in the state’s sports betting law to require a $5 million fee per sports betting license.

The law allows second-tier operators — horse trails and simulcast centers — and casinos to offer personal bets. State law also allows Class II operators to offer online betting through one single branded mobile platform, while casinos can offer online betting through two mobile platforms.

Eichel, Rainham Park’s attorney, questioned whether a Category Two operator would have to pay separate fees for both retail operating licenses and mobile operating licenses, which total $10 million.

The question affects not only the Eichel and Sterling Suffolk Racecourse customer, but any future company seeking a horse racing or simulcasting license in Massachusetts. For example, the Hardwick Board of Selectmen recently dropped an attempt by Commonwealth Equine and Agriculture to open a thoroughbred horse racing and sports betting business.

  • Read more: Games organizers look forward to in-person meetings as they pitch sports betting

The commission’s general counsel, Todd Grossman, said there was little disagreement about paying the $5 million fee to obtain a sports betting license. This means that the core of the investigation, he said, is who should obtain a sports betting license and define the term “qualified gaming entity”.

“There is no, if you will, an internal process of a mobile operation. Any mobile operator must have a Class III license. In this case, what that means is that the operator has to pay a $5 million fee in order to obtain a license from Category three once they get the license. They can then run Category 2 or one category for that matter, Mobile Operation,” he said. “It’s not that any entity pays a fee twice. It’s that whoever needs a license has to pay the fee once and that’s what I think the law says.”


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