Figuring out ways to streamline the creation of regulations for sports wagering has been a top priority for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) since the governor signed sports betting into law on Aug. 10. The state agency estimates that approximately 225 regulations must be implemented before licensed operators can begin offering sports betting in the state.
One of the ways MGC is gathering feedback on ways to accelerate the process is via public meetings. On Sept. 8, the commission approved emergency procedures enabling the agency to do business with two sports betting equipment testing labs: BMM Testlabs and Gaming Laboratories International. These labs are already certified to evaluate equipment in the state’s licensed casinos.
Certifying Equipment and Nefarious Operators
Ensuring the integrity of gaming equipment is a crucial step, especially as “nefarious operators” are attempting to offer sports betting illegally in the state, according to MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein. Since regulated sports betting platforms aren’t available yet, Stein considers the illegal promotions a “public safety and public welfare” issue.
“Our goal with this process is to make sure that such sports wagering is introduced correctly, operationally, and legally, for the benefit of integrity and consumer protection. We accomplish this goal by working diligently to develop policy, establish a regulatory structure that equitably, fairly reviews … potential operators.”
Another commissioner mentioned misinformation about the pace of implementation and cited incorrect details he heard on a sports radio show.
“Today, I actually got a little frustrated with it because they had a guest on, and they were talking about sports betting, and they made a comment that some think that we might be able to make a bet in three weeks at our brick-and-mortar casinos and our simulcasting facilities. And, obviously, that is not going to happen,” Commissioner Brad Hill said. “And it was frustrating because of the hundreds of thousands of people that listen to that show and think that they might be able to place a bet here in Massachusetts, it was frustrating.”
Upcoming Meetings and Discussion Topics
The commission has an arduous road ahead with executing regulations, but the critical phase of confirming that sports wagering equipment gets inspected is underway.
During upcoming public meetings this month, the commission plans to discuss sports wagering house rules and temporary licenses that will enable qualified operators to begin offering sports betting immediately for a $1 million fee. In the meantime, sports betting fans will be waiting for an official date for wagering to launch.