Following DraftKings’ appeal to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to reconsider its proposed panicked retail/online sports betting launch, the regulator rejected the approach and decided to pursue its original launch plan. The initial launch plan would allow retail sports betting to launch up to two months ahead of mobile/online sports betting, with retail not operational until January and mobile until March.
The rationale remains strong: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission argues that at least ‘some’ mobile operators require a competitive bidding process, while its retail licenses are all existing Massachusetts gaming entities adding an online skin.
The DrafKings sent a letter to the Gaming Commission giving an agenda item for Thursday’s commission meeting: “Commissioner’s Amendment: a) Discussion from DraftKings to reconsider the Commission’s vote on a staggered start.” Analysts expected it to decline, and it looks like it will.
DraftKings’ argument for global launch reads: “This decision to launch mobile sports betting after retail sports betting artificially limits consumer choice and consumer protection, disrupts the state’s sports betting market, and puts mobile-first operators like DraftKings out of business.” competitive disadvantage compared to others.
“Allowing some sports betting operators to accept bets before other sports betting operators creates an unlevel playing field,” he added. The company cited examples with FanDuel in both Pennsylvania and Indiana, where early movers gained significant market advantage and haven’t let up since.
“I read the entire letter, I don’t see any new circumstances or any clarifications,” said Carly Judd-Stein, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Commissioner Bradford Hill added: “They don’t think we need to revisit this. I think we had a very good discussion when we voted on this. I continue to see reports of a shocking start across the country and elsewhere, and I take great comfort in knowing that we did the right thing. I think they’re worried that if we do this panicked launch we’re going to give ourselves a leg up, I don’t agree with that, not from the reports I’ve seen.
Despite concerns from Commissioner Jordan Maynard, the census was futile; And the evidence from previous regions was ignored.