Bally’s Paid MA Millions For Sports Betting License, Still Hasn’t Taken A Bet

Written By Steve Schult on January 12, 2024
A picture of money with a Bally Bet logo for a story about their license Massachusetts sports betting license renewal.

Bally’s Interactive is one of the 10 operators licensed to operate an online sportsbook in Massachusetts.

However, the company paid regulators a seven-figure sum to hold their place in the MA online sports betting market.

At the most recent Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting, regulators told the commission Bally’s plans on taking bets eventually. But the company wants to finish jumpstarting its operations in a neighboring state first.

Rhode Island first, then Massachusetts

Massachusetts allowed qualified gaming entities to pay a $1 million fee for a temporary category 3 license. Nine operators met the criteria and paid the amount before the March 2023 online sports betting launch.

Bally’s was one of those nine, but officials said the company would wait until May to start its Bay State sportsbook. May came and went without Massachusetts bettors having access to Bally Bet MA.

Most of that delay was caused by a major re-vamp to its platform. Bally’s let Kambi Group overhaul the site’s interface. Most believed a late 2023 launch was coming.

Bruce Band, director of sports wagering for the MGC, said executives still don’t have a timeline.

“They are in the process of getting ready to open up in Rhode Island,” Band told commissioners. “Their new COO said at that time, when they get a better feel of where they are, they will let us know when they would be planning on opening up in Massachusetts.”

Caitlin Monahan, the commission’s interim Investigations and Enforcement Bureau Director, echoed Band’s comments.

“They have indicated to us that they will move forward with beginning operators after Rhode Island launches,” said Monahan.

Delayed launch costs Bally’s $2 million

Regardless of the actual start date, the temporary license will expire before it. As a result, the company will need to fork over another $1 million to renew the license.

Monahan and Band said they plan on paying the fee. In other words, Bally’s will pay $2 million for Massachusetts market access, the market has been live for nearly a year and they haven’t handled a single wager yet.

Bally’s license expires on Feb. 23. But they must apply for a new one in a “timely manner.”

Karalyn O’Brien, the MGC’s licensing division chief, said “timely” means no sooner than two months before expiration but no later than one month before.

Betway also paid licensing fee, never launched

At the same meeting, regulators revealed that Betway would not renew its license.

Like Bally’s, Betway Massachusetts paid the $1 million fee for a temporary license last year and never handled a wager. But Betway’s parent company, Digital Gaming Corporation, decided to eat the money and move on.

Including Massachusetts, Betway is licensed in 10 states. The company operates in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Digital Gaming Corporation appears to be limiting its U.S. expenditures. The company also pulled its application for an Illinois sports betting license in October 2023.

Photo by PlayMA
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Steve Schult

The managing editor for PlayMA and several other Catena Media sites, Steve stays on top of all things related to the national gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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