As people start to look ahead to the holiday towards the end of next week, “all eyes are on Monday” at the Mass. Gaming Commission as its staff prepares for the sports betting license application deadline, a top official said Thursday.
“This is an important time for the operators. We have been meeting with them in groups by their category, we have been answering their questions, and I know that they are working hard on their applications now. And as for our team, we are working hard to make sure that Monday goes smoothly with that initial processing,” Loretta Lillios, director of the Gaming Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, said. “So really, the big process update is all eyes are on Monday and we continue to plug away at regulations and other preparations. But everyone’s focused on Monday.”
Thirty sports betting companies returned a survey that the commission asked anyone interested in seeking a betting license here to complete. Monday’s deadline applies to the state’s casinos and slots parlor, and to companies that will compete for one of a maximum of seven mobile and online betting licenses. Applicants must submit a $200,000 non-refundable application fee by the 2 p.m. deadline. Applications from simulcast centers and horse tracks will be accepted on a rolling basis.
The commission plans to launch in-person betting at the casinos and slots parlor by “late January” and mobile betting by “early March.”
During Thursday’s commission meeting, regulators continued to churn through regulations that will need to be approved and in place before bets can begin. The regulations advanced Thursday touched on approval of sports wagering equipment, occupational licenses, sports betting kiosks, and technical aspects of sports betting operations. One issue that emerged as a topic of interest to commissioners was how the regulations might be able to support the law’s prohibition on the use of credit cards to place bets.
Commissioner Eileen O’Brien raised for discussion the idea of “one-step away credit card use,” in which a bettor would use a credit card to buy a debit card, to add money to a PayPal account or some similar work-around to still be able to bet on credit. An official for Gaming Labs International, an outside company the commission hired to help with some aspects of sports betting implementation, said he believes the law merely bans operators from accepting credit cards.
“Right and that’s a question I’m sure the five of us will have in terms of, if the purpose is responsible gaming, at what point do we draw the line to say, ‘you know, getting a gift card, the prepaid gift card, or getting a Venmo pass-through is too close.’,” O’Brien said before another GLI representative suggested tabling the discussion for a later date.
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