HomeNewsMassachusetts Sportsbooks Agree to Roundtable to Potentially Limit Max Wagers

Massachusetts Sportsbooks Agree to Roundtable to Potentially Limit Max Wagers

A month after brushing off the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's (MGC) call for a roundtable discussion on betting limits, sports betting operators have pivoted, agreeing to engage in a public forum. The sudden shift from reluctance to cooperation raises questions about the motivations behind this change.

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Initially, operators like BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, ESPN BET, Fanatics Sportsbook, and FanDuel cited concerns over revealing confidential risk management practices. Bally Bet, the only operator to attend the first meeting, has remained committed to participating in future discussions.

Sudden Change of Heart from Massachusetts Operators

Interim Chair Jordan Maynard announced the change, noting, “Every operator has said they’d be happy to educate us on limitations.” This newfound willingness marks a stark contrast to the previous no-show, where the absence of most operators left the commission frustrated and skeptical about their intentions.

Commissioner Nakisha Skinner voiced this skepticism, questioning the operators’ sudden change of heart: “What changed? Why is the second time around here better than the first?” Her doubts reflect a broader concern within the commission that the operators’ participation may not yield the substantive insights needed.

Skinner stressed the necessity for future discussions to provide meaningful information on how and why bettors are limited, rather than being mere formalities.

“It can’t just be a roundtable for the sake of a roundtable where they’re coming, and they’re saying, ‘We can’t talk because this is sensitive information,’” she emphasized.

The initial reluctance to participate stemmed from the operators’ concerns over sharing sensitive information about their risk management practices publicly. This concern was valid, given that discussing bet limits could potentially expose proprietary strategies that ensure their operations remain profitable while managing risk.

However, the MGC’s determination to push forward with regulatory scrutiny likely pressured the operators to reconsider their stance. The potential for regulatory amendments to curtail the practice of limiting bettors would have significant business implications, as noted in the risk factors section of DraftKings’ and ESPN BET’s annual reports.

Commissioner Eileen O’Brien highlighted the need for a tactical approach moving forward. She suggested that the commission first review the information already available and then formulate specific questions to guide future discussions.

“I don’t think an open-ended roundtable is the way to go,she said. “I think putting it on as a freestanding meeting or an agenda on a shorter meeting is the way to go.”

Goals of the Roundtable

Interim Chair Maynard‘s goal for the upcoming discussions is to maintain a civil and educational atmosphere. Reflecting on the previous meetings, he noted that some Massachusetts sportsbooks were upset by the discourse from bettors and a podcast shared by an MGC employee on social media.

“I want everyone to be able to get out their thoughts and I want it to be done in an educational way. Not a bombastic way, not a way that would upset or humiliate,” Maynard stated.

This emphasis on civility is crucial for ensuring that the discussions remain productive and focused on finding solutions.

The MGC’s approach to regulating sports betting in Massachusetts underscores the broader effort to ensure fairness and transparency in the industry. By engaging operators in these discussions, the commission aims to better understand the practices behind limiting bettors and explore potential regulatory changes to address any unfair practices.

As the date for the new roundtable is yet to be determined, the commission’s focus will be on setting clear objectives and creating a framework for the discussions. This renewed effort to engage operators in a transparent conversation about betting limits reflects the MGC’s commitment to refining and enforcing fair sports betting practices in Massachusetts.

The outcome of these discussions will likely influence how betting limits are managed not only in Massachusetts but also in other states grappling with similar regulatory challenges.