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Massachusetts calls in help for sports wagering timelines

14 Oct 2022

By Jarrod LeBlanc
The state's Gaming Commission announced on Thursday it contracted RSM US and Gaming Lab International to support the mission to launch sports betting in the state.

As reported earlier this week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is tentatively looking at late January for in-person sports betting and early March for online sports wagering, but what is now known is how it is going to make progress toward these timelines.

According to the video of yesterday’s public meeting, Gaming Commission Executive Director Karen Wells informed the commissioners that the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB), with assistance from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Finance Team, selected RSM US to provide consulting services to assist with the background review process for Sports Wagering Applications.

“RSM is a leading provider of audit tax and consulting services with a presence across the U.S. and internationally,” said Wells on the video. “RSM has assembled an impressive team to support the MGC’s mission. The firm has an expertise in financial due diligence and also has significant experience in the gaming environment having provided consulting services to tribal and state gaming regulatory agencies across the U.S.”

The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, as previously reported to the Commission according to the video, has also contracted with a team of investigators comprised of former sworn law enforcement members including former members of the State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit these investigators are lined up to assist with the general suitability reviews of the applicants at the operator, vendor and employee level

“So, very pleased that that work has been done and appropriately,” said Wells on video. “And that they are ready to go on that. It’s particularly relevant as the Chair (Cathy Judd-Stein) mentioned that Scoping Survey is due on Monday, and that is the trigger point for the investigators to identify qualifiers and then they can get going and get the applications from me from the applicants and continue with the investigative protocols. So that’s great news.”

It was also announced during Thursday’s public meeting that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission also signed a contract with Gaming Lab International, also known as GLI.

“That is going to be huge for our implementation timeline,” said Wells on the video. “They are a uniquely qualified company for existence in sports wagering implementation. They have assisted other regulators in other jurisdictions. They can provide a multitude of services to us.”

Gaming Lab International won’t just be instrumental in the preliminary stages of setting up the infrastructure for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

“Once the licenses are granted, they can provide services to confirm the appropriate internal controls that are submitted by the licensees,” said Wells on the video. “So, it’s a great win for
the MGC to get them on board and have that a go. I know the team is really excited to have this kind of level of help and this kind of level of professionalism.”

There is one other area of expertise that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is looking toward in regards to the sports wagering timelines.

“We are also looking at contracting for project management help on this to make sure we keep on track and that we give the commissioners regular reports, and that we can manage the workload that is going to be ahead of us over the next few months,” said Wells on the video. “It’s critically important that those things have happened as you know we all have our day jobs and we run an agency here, so bringing in that assistance is very helpful to us with the timeline.”

When sports betting finally does launch in the Bay State, retail casinos MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino will receive two online skins each, while race tracks Suffolk Downs and Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park will receive one online skin each. Overall, the state can have up to 15 operators, meaning there will be seven “untethered” online sports betting licenses that will be awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

To date the Commission has not received any applications for these “untethered” online sports betting licenses.

“We are aware of at least one entity that is going to send something… but we have not received any yet,” said Wells in the video.
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