Massachusetts Gaming Commission Says No to Expanding Sports Betting Menu

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Dana White at American Airlines Center on July 29, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP.

Bay State’s Gaming Commission turned down the opportunity to add Power Slap, SlapFight, and Street League Skateboarding to Massachusetts sports betting by a vote of 5-0. In addition, two more sports betting operators are poised to join the Bay State market.

Enough Is Enough

At some point, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission may decide to add new sports and events to its current slate of online betting options, but right now, the commission decided against Power Slap, SlapFight, and Street League Skateboarding among others.

Commissioner Eileen O’Brien voted against all forms of slap fighting and stated, “At a time when we’re learning about head injuries and impact, etc., the fact that (these events) would even be on this list is appalling to me,” O’Brien said Monday.

Her colleague, Commissioner Brad Hill, echoed her sentiments in saying, “I find the whole Power Slap thing to be quite distributing, and I just could not see myself supporting betting on such an event. It’s as clear and cut dry as that,” he said before voting against the petition.

Jai Alai Makes a Comeback

Jai alai returned to the table after it was voted down earlier this year. Commissioner Chair Cathy Judd-Stein reminded her fellow members of the previous vote and stated, “It did trouble me that a petition came forward with jai alai when we as a group had turned it down. I feel a need to be vigilant… I’m hopeful for continued guidance from our licensees.”

Judd-Stein did, however, leave the door ajar for a future opportunity, “When we went through the catalog we did indicate we probably should revisit that at the right time,” she said Monday. “Just a note that we can think about revisiting with more information.”

Two New Operators in Massachusetts

Betr, a micro-betting platform that is up and running in Ohio is expected to launch in Massachusetts within the week. Fanatics Sportsbook anticipates joining the fray after it receives its operations certificate on May 16th.

Betway is another sports betting provider that was recently acquired by Super Group and is eyeing a 2024 launch.

“We’re committed to Massachusetts and appreciate the opportunity to refile and resubmit, and it is our sincere want to address the challenge of timing, so we will be in touch in due course,” Betway Digital Gaming Executive Vice President for North American Operations Bruce Watermeyer told the commission.

Partnerships With Caesars Southern Indiana and EBCI Holdings

Betr’s entry into the Massachusetts market will bring the total number of sports betting providers to seven with the other six having already launched. Those six are Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET.

Last year, Betr partnered with Caesars Southern Indiana and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ gaming entity, EBCI Holdings, which means EBCI is the company’s largest shareholder. “We are thrilled to be working with Caesars Southern Indiana and EBCI Holdings to bring Betr to the Hoosier state,” said Joey Levy, Founder, and CEO of Betr.

“Market access is one of the primary expenses that comes with launching a regulated sports betting business in the U.S., so we have been focused on aligning ourselves with partners who buy into our vision and are willing to take equity in lieu of cash for access” Levy added.