July 21, 2024

A month after online sportsbook operators in Massachusetts skipped a roundtable to discuss sports bettors being limited in the amount they can bet, or being prohibited altogether, the seven internet platforms have agreed to sit down with state regulators.

Massachusetts online sports betting sportsbook
A sports bettor places an online wager on a mobile device at a bar adjacent to Boston’s Fenway Park. Massachusetts’ online sportsbooks have agreed to discuss how and why they limit some bettors. (Image: AP)

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) revealed during its Thursday meeting that the seven online sportsbooks possessing wagering licenses in the commonwealth have agreed to explain how and why they limit certain bettors. The news was surprising, as it was only May 21 that the MGC held a similar discussion but only Bally’s Bet provided commentary.

Bally’s Bet has yet to commence its online sports wagering business in Massachusetts. It plans to commence its online sportsbook next Thursday, June 27.

MGC commissioners want to know why the licensed sportsbook operators are regularly limiting certain patrons and excluding others. MGC Interim Chair Jordan Maynard said last month that the agency has fielded many complaints from bettors who say they’ve been limited or banned with little to no explanation.

Change of Heart

Massachusetts’ six operational sportsbooks — DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, ESPN Bet, and Fanatics Sportsbook — declined to participate in the May roundtable. Most responded to the MGC’s invitation by citing proprietary concerns that should not be discussed in an open environment.

Maynard countered that the MGC, under state law, is required to conduct its business “in an open forum” where “transparency is key.” The sportsbooks, however, said they wouldn’t disclose their confidential risk management practices and “other commercially sensitive business information” during a session involving competitors.

A month later, all six have reversed their opposition to an open discussion on limiting. It’s a development that has some commissioners perplexed.

Why is the second time around better?” asked Commissioner Nakisha Skinner. Skinner, who called the sportsbooks’ absence last month a “slight,” expressed concerns that the sportsbooks possibly colluded to agree to participate in the MGC public forum but might not be fully transparent.

“I’m not convinced we’ll get the information we asked for or that operators will be forthcoming,” Skinner said.

Maynard pledged that the sportsbooks have agreed “to educate us on limitations.”

What Does the Law Say?

Massachusetts lawmakers and then-Gov. Charlie Baker (R) authorized sports betting in August 2022. The statute doesn’t prohibit licensed sportsbooks from placing minimum or maximum betting limits. And, similarly to how the state’s casinos can exclude access to their gaming floors at their discretion, so can online sportsbooks.

Unless otherwise directed by the Commission, there is no limitation as to the minimum or maximum wager a Sports Wagering Operator may accept,” the statute reads. “This rule does not preclude a Sports Wagering Operator from establishing its own minimum or maximum wagers, or limiting a patron’s Sports Wager for reasons considered necessary or appropriate by the Sports Wagering Operator.”

Sportsbooks previously told the MGC that they limit or prohibit bettors for an array of reasons, and it’s typically not because a bettor is a shark or wins more frequently than others.

Andrew Steffen, the MGC’s sports wagering operations manager, told commissioners that the sportsbooks claim to limit wagers on events “to preserve the integrity of the sporting event” and to prevent “undue influence of bets on the outcome of the game.”  

The post Massachusetts Sportsbooks Agree to Discuss Why and How They Limit Bettors appeared first on Casino.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.