Bally Bet MA Plans To Launch Before July, But Gaming Commission Wants Concrete Timeline

Written By Mike Breen on March 15, 2024
Bally Bet Massachusetts Launch

Online sportsbook Bally Bet was among the first operators to be granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, paying $2 million in licensing fees for the privilege. But more than a year after sports betting went live, Bally Bet still hasn’t given state regulators a firm launch schedule. 

During Thursday’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting, commissioners sought clarification as to why Bally Bet has yet to reveal a concrete timeline for beginning operations in the state.

Based on the latest correspondence from Bally Bet, the sportsbook plans to launch in Massachusetts before July.

Bally Bet MA eyes summer launch, MCG wants details

Bally Bet paid Massachusetts sports betting regulators $1 million to renew its Category 3 Sports Wagering Operator license for another year before the start of 2024. While under the impression the sportsbook was targeting a launch date before the end of Q2, the MGC hasn’t heard anything more definitive from Bally Bet. 

Commissioners appear to be growing impatient with the lack of precise information from the company, requesting that Bally Bet representatives be summoned for a meeting with the commission.

Bruce Band, the director of sports wagering for the MGC, said he and other gaming officials met with Bally’s Interactive North America COO Brett Calapp in December. Band said he reached out to Calapp last week and was informed that the company was looking at launching Bally Bet in Massachusetts before the end of June

In 2023, Bally Bet was slated to launch in May. But an overhaul of its platform and a relaunch in the seven states in which the sportsbook was operating caused a delay. The company then indicated it was going to concentrate on launching its online casino product in Rhode Island — which it did at the start of this month — before coming to Massachusetts.

Commissioners request meeting with Bally Bet officials

Band said he sent a letter to Bally Bet on March 13 requesting more specific details on when the sportsbook would be launching in MA. The letter also outlined what he called a “pretty extensive list” of steps the operator still has to take before going live. 

According to Band, multiple meetings have been proposed to Bally Bet since December to get the ball rolling, but the company did not respond to the offers. Some of the commissioners said that it was time to insist on a meeting with Bally Bet about the launch to pin down specifics.

Commissioner Nakisha Skinner said:

“I would like to have Bally’s appear before us to communicate what their intentions are. It has now been quite some time since the license was granted. I think we as a body owe it to Massachusetts to understand exactly what it is they have got planned for the Commonwealth, and when.”

Commissioner Brad Hill added:

“We’re at a point now where we need to move forward here.”

Bally Bet would be 7th MA sportsbook

Bally Bet would bring the number of online sportsbooks operating in Massachusetts to seven. Bally’s sportsbook would join BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics Sportsbook and ESPN Bet in the market. Two other sportsbooks, WynnBET and Betr, recently exited Massachusetts

MGC chair Cathy Judd-Stein, who is retiring from the commission next week, wished her fellow commissioners luck in dealing with Bally Bet. She said Bally Bet shouldn’t get to promote the fact that they have a Massachusetts gaming license without actually using it and questioned if the company perhaps had ulterior motives.

Judd-Stein said:

“This is a peerless privilege, to have a Massachusetts license. They have it on their documents that they have our license. I’m upset if we haven’t properly protected us, to say, ‘You don’t just get to say you have a license, you’ve got to be producing revenue.’ Quite frankly, they’re (operating iGaming) in Rhode Island. Are they not operating in Massachusetts because they want to benefit Rhode Island?”

She added:

“But they did pay their million dollars, so that’s good news for the Commonwealth.”

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Mike Breen

Mike Breen is an Ohio-based professional writer who has more than two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture. He has covered online sports betting, responsible gambling, and other gambling initiatives for a variety of markets over the last couple of years. That now includes PlayMA.

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