WynnBet Becomes First Massachusetts Online Sports Betting Licensee

  • The company is tied to Encore Boston Harbor, who it named as its partner in its application
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has no hard launch date but is targeting March
  • Many other sportsbooks have submitted applications, including Encore-partnered Caesars
  • Six companies have applied for standalone licenses, not connected to a casino
Encore Boston Harbor
WynnBet became the first licensed online sports betting operator in Massachusetts Tuesday. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A new milestone

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) unanimously named WynnBet as the first legal online licensed sports betting operator in the state’s history Tuesday.

received a Category 3 license and is now tied to Encore Boston Harbor

The committee’s decision came after a near seven-hour meeting reviewing the Las Vegas headquartered company’s application. WynnBet ultimately received a Category 3 license and is now tied to Encore Boston Harbor, a $2.6bn property with over 200,000 square feet of gambling space.

The MGC has not set an official timeline for the launch of its online sports betting market. The hope is that online operators will be licensed and ready for business by early March to capitalize on the popularity of March Madness betting.

WynnBet expanding to Massachusetts 

WynnBet is already live in nine states and will soon provide service to the Ohio sports betting market when it launches on January 1, 2023. It launched in New Jersey in 2020 and has quickly picked up steam on the back of the success of its parent company, Wynn Resorts.

The growing operator’s license was granted with stipulations that it provide information on vendor diversity and spending before it goes live. WynnBet higher-ups successfully impressed Massachusetts regulators with their statistics and were waved through.

hope that they will be able to launch retail sports betting in January

The new license officially binds WynnBet to Encore Boston Harbor, both of which are Wynn Resorts entities. Casino officials hope that they will be able to launch retail sports betting in January to feed the NFL and Super Bowl betting crowds.

The MGC was also supposed to review an application from Caesars sportsbook Tuesday but was forced to delay due to the lengthy review of WynnBet’s application. The Caesars review is now occurring Wednesday, which had been scheduled as a day to review retail and digital applications from MGM Springfield.

Caesars also joined forces with Encore Boston Harbor through a preliminary agreement and has named the casino as its partner in its license application. State law requires interested online platforms to be tethered to one of three casinos or two racetracks if they want to avoid filing for one of seven standalone online licenses.

Setting up the market

The upcoming market for Massachusetts sports betting is quickly taking shape. In addition to the WynnBet and Caesars reviews, the state is set to hold meetings with representatives of Barstool sportsbook and Fanatics. Both companies have agreements with Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.

The MGC already earmarked Plainridge Park’s digital and retail applications for review in the coming weeks. It has been hesitant to respond to Barstool’s request for access to the market following a damning piece from The New York Times on founder Dave Portnoy.

“Barstool Sports is the elephant in the room,” MGC Commissioner Nakina Skinner said when discussing the controversial company last Tuesday.

The MGC is also vetting BetMGM in conjunction with MGM Springfield’s Wednesday review. If approved, it would become the second licensed online operator in the state’s history.

Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet have all applied

Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet have all applied for standalone online licenses and will be reviewed once the committee reconvenes in 2023. If all are approved, that would mean there would be just one standalone license left up for grabs. 

Bet365 has also applied for a license through a partnership with Raynham Park, a racetrack in Raynham, but will have to take a back seat to casino and standalone license requests.