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Bally’s planning late Q2 sports betting launch in Massachusetts

| By Jill R. Dorson
Bruce Band, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC)'s director of sports betting, told the MGC on Thursday that Bally’s has plans to launch its Bally Bet platform by the end of Q2.
Bally's to enter Massachusetts

While Massachusetts consumers have lost two digital sports betting options in the last month, thanks to Bally’s entrance, customers could gain one more choice by the end of June 2024.

Bally’s was initially licensed in Massachusetts in 2023. However it did not launch last year, leading to the company renewing its $1m licence in January 2024. BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, Fanatics Sportsbook and FanDuel are currently live in Massachusetts, while Betr and WynnBet recently shut down their platforms.

On 5 March, Bally’s launched its igaming platform in Rhode Island, where it already has a monopoly on digital sports betting. That launch is significant as the company told the MGC last year that it would prioritise Rhode Island before turning its attention to the Bay State.

Bally’s regulatory hurdles

To go live, Bally’s has some regulatory steps to take, including equipment inspections and final approval of internal controls, but has not yet let the MGC know its specific plans. Band learned of the company’s intention to launch last week when he called the company seeking information about its Massachusetts plans following the go-live in Rhode Island.

Band said that he had reached out to to Bally’s multiple times since a December meeting to discuss launch plans, but had not heard back.

Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said it may be time to “move it forward and stop the offering and sort of have them appear?” Brad Hill concurred, saying, “I think I am agreeing with Commissioner O’Brien. I think I’d like to be a little bit more strict and say, ‘No, you are having a meeting with us’ and, if it’s before the commission, then so be it […] but I think we are at a point here where we need to move forward.”

New market added, Judd-Stein’s last meeting

The commission also approved adding betting on the UFL (the United Football League) – a result of the XFL-USFL merger – to the bet menu. Fanatics Sportsbook and FanDuel requested the market be added.

Commission chair Cathy Judd-Stein led her final meeting, after announcing her retirement from public service in February. Judd-Stein has been the chair since January 2019.

“For me, public service has offered the rewarding opportunity to influence policy where key public and private interests intersect,” Judd-Stein said during the meeting. “My appointment to serve the MGC has been such a privilege as we’ve championed transformation policies on behalf of all Massachusetts residents, advancing a safe and sustainable gaming landscape.”

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