Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Massachusetts gaming regulators unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to simply accept sports activities betting functions from horse racing and simulcasting facilities on a rolling foundation, a cut up from the upcoming deadline casinos and on-line operators face later this month.

Two companies — Raynham Park and Sterling Suffolk Racecourse — have filed preliminary paperwork with the Massachusetts Gaming Fee to kick off the sports activities betting utility course of beneath the class put aside for horse racing and simulcasting tracks.

The timeline for when sports activities wagering would be capable of begin at these corporations has remained murky over the previous few months as each Raynham Park and Sterling Suffolk Racecourse have informed regulators they want extra time to evaluate their wants, discover a sportsbook companion, and solidify bodily places.

Learn extra: Background dealmaking between sports activities betting candidates underway as launch nears

And through a digital fee assembly Thursday, representatives for each stated they’d not be capable of flip in a full sports activities betting utility by the Nov. 21 deadline regulators set for casinos and on-line corporations.

Each Sterling Suffolk Racecourse and Raynham Park might want to ink a take care of a sportsbook to run their on-line and retail wagering operations.

Rimon Legislation Legal professional Steve Eichel, who represents Raynham Park, stated the corporate is “inside a few weeks, hopefully, or much less” from naming a sportsbook partnership, although he declined to dive into particulars Thursday.

“We’re negotiating time period sheets and making an attempt to finalize these negotiations with a few potential, I ought to say a number of potential operators,” Eichel stated.

Eichel informed MassLive final week that Raynham Park is on the lookout for a sportsbook deal that “goes to provide us the biggest projected market share,” including that may solely “occur with an working companion who’s one of many main gamers and who’s obtained actual credibility in each {the marketplace} for shoppers in addition to with the Gaming Fee.”

DLA Piper Legal professional Bruce Barnett, who represents Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, stated the enterprise “isn’t able” to current “something resembling a full utility” by Nov. 21.

“We’ve been speaking, in talks with varied top-of-the-line operators. Due to the form of strategic and aggressive sensitivities, we don’t really feel like we may give a number of element about precisely what’s taking place [with] negotiations, however we’re transferring ahead,” Barnett stated. “We’re hopeful of getting one thing quickly that we are able to form of convey to the general public and convey to the fee.”

Learn extra: Gaming regulators lay apart DraftKings’ request to revisit sports activities betting timeline

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse additionally finds itself in a singular place in comparison with Raynham Park. Whereas the latter is constructing out a 30,000-square-foot gaming facilitating in Bristol County that can home retail sports activities betting, the previous nonetheless must discover a bodily location.

In an announcement to MassLive earlier this week, newly-minted Sterling Suffolk Racecourse Chief Working Officer Michael Buckley stated the corporate is “actively engaged on quite a lot of fronts, together with figuring out and vetting best-in-class sports activities wagering operators to collaborate with Sterling Suffolk in opening a premier sports activities wagering venue.”

The Gaming Fee voted final month to approve a late January launch for retail betting at casinos, and an early March begin for on-line wagering.

Regulators did go away themselves room to push these dates again in the event that they wanted extra time to kind out laws, course of functions, and facilitate a aggressive bid course of for the seven untethered on-line sports activities betting licenses.

However the utility course of for each in-person betting at casinos and on-line licenses not tethered to a brick-and-mortar operation is nicely underway. A mass of corporations indicated their curiosity in making use of for sports activities betting licenses final month via an preliminary survey forward of the deadline to show in full functions.

Additionally at Thursday’s Gaming Fee assembly, commissioners permitted a set of six laws that make up the “sports activities wagering operator licensing framework.” That features guidelines round licensing charges, momentary licensing procedures, and suitability determinations, amongst different issues.

Learn extra: Mass. Gaming Fee ‘on schedule’ with sports activities betting laws

Regulators additionally mentioned at size a regulation stopping minors and underage youth from sports activities betting. The fee pushed off a vote on the regulation, deciding to take it up once more subsequent week after Fee Eileen O’Brien requested for extra time to overview language round entry to sports activities betting kiosks.

And the fee unanimously voted Thursday to interpret language within the state’s sports activities betting regulation to require a $5 million price for every sports activities wagering license.

The regulation permits for class two operators — horse tracks and simulcasting facilities — and casinos to supply in-person betting. State regulation additionally permits class two operators to supply on-line betting via one individually branded cellular platform, whereas casinos can provide on-line betting via two cellular platforms.

Eichel, the Raynham Park lawyer, questioned whether or not a class two operator must pay a separate price for every of the retail and cellular working licenses, which might complete $10 million.

The query not solely impacts Eichel’s consumer and Sterling Suffolk Racecourse however any future enterprise that seeks out a horse racing or simulcasting license in Massachusetts. The Hardwick Board of Selectmen, for instance, lately shot down an try by Commonwealth Equine and Agriculture to open up a thoroughbred horse racing and sports activities betting institution.

Learn extra: Gaming regulators eyeing in-person conferences because it rolls out sports activities betting

Fee Common Counsel Todd Grossman stated there’s a little disagreement about paying a $5 million price to acquire a sports activities betting license. Which means the guts of the inquiry, he stated, is who has to get a sports activities betting license and defining the time period “certified gaming entity.”

“There isn’t any, if you’ll, in-house operation of a cellular operation. Any cellular operator has to have a class three license. And on this case, what meaning is that operator has to pay the $5 million price in an effort to get their class three license as soon as they’ve their license. They’ll then run a class two or class one for that matter, cellular operation,” he stated. “It’s not that anyone entity is paying a price twice. It’s that everybody who requires licensure has to pay the price as soon as and that’s what I imagine the regulation says.”

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