Retail sportsbooks began taking bets in Massachusetts on Tuesday (Jan. 31), although gamblers using mobile sportsbook apps will have to wait until March to place their bets that way.
As of now, 11 online sportsbooks have been granted licenses in the state — Bally Bet, betr, BetMGM, Barstool Sports, Betway, Caesars Digital, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics, PointsBet and WynnBet — but gamblers must go to one of the state’s three casinos and bet in person now.
On Jan. 19, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted on the use of “untethered” mobile sportsbook apps, meaning online wagers that do not have to be placed in person, at either the Wynn Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield or Plainridge Park Casino.
An MGC press release identified six of the 11 for “suitability” of temporary untethered Category 3 sports wagering in the state, naming Bally Bet, FanDuel, Betr, DraftKings, Betway and PointsBet as the first group.
The MGC added that “five companies have been found preliminarily suitable for Category 3 sports wagering licenses tethered to one of those Category 1 licenses. Those operators are WynnBet, Caesars, BetMGM, Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool Sportsbook), and Fanatics Betting & Gaming.”
Encore Boston Harbor is kickstarting the eventual use of online gaming apps with its Bring Your Own Device offer which “allows patrons to use their own device to pre-create a QR code for a bet slip, which they can scan at any WynnBET Sports Kiosk to recreate the bet slip and quickly and easily place the desired bet(s),” according to its website.
Online sportsbook is on both a fast track and slow roll as 26 states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized online wagering, but operators are undergoing exhaustive reviews state by state to get permission for online wagering from anywhere.
See also: Money Mobility Tracker®
FinTech Ingo Money is an early leader in the action, powering the Caesars Sportsbook online wagering platform, with a focus on near-real-time payouts of winnings, which in other cases can take days for sportsbooks still using bank transfers, ACH, and even paper checks.
“We still think … that push-to-card and instant payouts are the number one most popular [method]. It’s the newest, but it’s the number one most popular method, and in my opinion, one of the safest from a regulatory standpoint,” Edwards said.
That’s a matter of money mobility, which has a way to go before reaching anything like ubiquity across online sportsbooks. “Only 58% of consumers had a choice of disbursement method for their gambling or gaming winnings in 2022, according to a recent PYMNTS survey,” according to the December ‘Casinos, Gambling And Gaming Platforms Bet On Instant Payments’ edition of the Money Mobility Tracker®.
Elsewhere, BetMGM partnered with Mastercard Send to enable near-real-time payouts on its sportsbook. BetMGM director of payments Andy McGonnell told PYMNTS that “We definitely see a correlation between the payment methods that are fast on our system and the adoption by players.
Fraud is a top concern of state regulators when it comes to online sportsbooks, and McGonnell added that “Unfortunately, fraudsters are kind of creative individuals. We’re always trying to improve risk profiles and fraud tools. We are always investing in that, and 2023 will see focus around making sure we offer the most secure platform possible and preventing fraud.”
Last week, CBS Sports published a complete list of states’ sportsbook stances as of January 2023, which notes the complexities and variations in sports wagering allowed.