MGM Springfield is the second casino in Massachusetts deemed suitable to possess a Category 1 sports wagering operator license.
After delaying a vote on the MGM Resorts casino application last week because state gaming regulators said they needed more information regarding BetMGM’s operations, the five-member Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted unanimously in favor of issuing MGM Springfield its Category 1 sports betting license.
Category 1 sports wagering permits allow each of the state’s three commercial land-based casinos to operate a retail sportsbook and as many as two online platforms. Each online sportsbook tethered to the Category 1 license must also gain regulatory approval from the MGC. The online sportsbook components are licensed through Category 3 permits.
BetMGM will manage MGM Springfield’s in-person sportsbook and also operate online in the commonwealth. Along with deeming MGM Springfield suitable for sports gambling, the MGC recognized BetMGM as an approved internet sportsbook operator and issued the gaming firm a Category 3 license.
2023 Launch Dates
Encore Boston Harbor last week became the first casino in Massachusetts to be declared suitable to operate sports betting. The Wynn Resorts property plans to use the company’s WynnBet Sportsbook to handle its in-person and online operations.
Encore Boston reached a deal with Caesars Entertainment to allow Caesars Sportsbook to utilize the casino’s other online sportsbook skin. The MGC plans to review Caesars Sportsbook’s Category 3 sports wagering application on Tuesday.
Plainridge Park’s Category 1 sports gaming license has been delayed. The MGC is holding off on voting on Plainridge’s sports betting application until the commission fields additional information from the casino’s parent entity, Penn Entertainment, regarding its business relationship with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.
In August, Penn completed its full acquisition of Barstool and the social media-turned-gaming company’s Barstool Sportsbook.
The MGC plans to give its approved Category 1 sportsbook licensees the go-ahead to begin taking bets in January. The state is targeting March for the commencement of online sports bets.
MGM Springfield Responds to Lawsuit
During MGM Springfield’s sports betting hearing, commissioners referenced concerns that the casino hasn’t lived up to the diversity hiring numbers the company pledged ahead of its development. Commissioners brought up a recent lawsuit filed against MGM Springfield by a former employee, who claims the resort fudged its diversity numbers before and after the casino’s opening.
In November, Chelan Brown, who served as the “construction diversity manager,” and later, the “diversity specialist” at MGM Springfield, sued MGM Springfield and its former President Mike Mathis. The suit was based on allegations that she was demoted after raising concerns that the casino’s diversity stats weren’t accurate. Brown said she was demoted to a catering position, which eventually forced her resignation as the job came with less pay and longer hours.
MGM reps told the MGC this week that Brown’s lawsuit is without merit.
“I want to categorically state that both of the main defendants — MGM Springfield and Mr. Mathis — unequivocally deny that MGM Springfield filed any falsified reports with MGC or engaged in any unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation,” MGM Springfield VP and Counsel Gus Kim told the commission. “We deny all allegations in the complaint.”
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