Massachusetts Regulator Happy With PointsBet Mobile Application

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission spent a handful of hours Tuesday meeting with PointsBet executives, discussing the operator’s desire to receive a Category 3 untethered mobile license in the Commonwealth. The meeting went smoothly, as PointsBet appeared to meet the criteria to receive a mobile license in Massachusetts.

PointsBet is among a group of six operators (the others being Bally’s, Betway, FanDuel, Betr, and DraftKings) that will have their mobile sports betting license applications voted on this week. The MGC has meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, although additional discussions could also spill into Friday, depending on how long meetings take.

Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park), BetMGM (MGM Springfield), Caesars Sportsbook (Encore Boston Harbor), fanatics (Plainridge Park), and WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor) applied for tethered digital licenses, and each entity was initially approved by the commission. State legislation allows for up to seven Category 3 untethered mobile licenses in the state.

Mobile sports betting is expected to launch in Massachusetts in March. PointsBet, which is live in 14 states, plans to be ready for a mobile launch at that time, should it receive final approvals for its mobile license.

Responsible gaming and diversity questions

As with other operators reviewed by the MGC, responsible gambling was an important point of discussion. PointsBet mentioned that it has moved away from using “risk-free bet” as a phrase in its marketing materials, which the MGC liked.

The commission was, however, a bit concerned by the fact that PointsBet has partnerships with the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland. The MGC has made a point of not wanting advertisements to target underage individuals, which makes marketing deals with colleges a tricky area. The New York Times reported that PointsBet’s deal with Colorado included language where the school would receive $30 every time someone downloaded the PointsBet app and used a promotional code to wager.

During the discussion of those relationships, PointsBet executives agreed they would avoid marketing on campuses of Massachusetts colleges.

“The reality is that in any jurisdiction that we operate in, we want to make sure we’re in alignment [with] guidance and directives the commission desires,” Rachel Kasper, PointsBet’s vice president of legal and compliance, said.

Commissioners came away impressed overall with PointsBet’s responsible gambling presentation, even after a few pointed questions about PointsBet’s relationship with colleges. Commissioners were pleased with the thorough detail PointsBet used in regard to responsible gambling practices, something not every operator did in its application.

“I have to say, I very much like the presentation today on responsible gambling,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said.

One area where the MGC wants to learn more is the company’s diversity and inclusion measures. The MGC application requests a goal related to supplier diversity, and PointsBet didn’t include any specific DEI goals.

“If possible, I’d like to see a goal,” Commissioner Jordan Maynard said. “If not possible, I’m going to weigh it against the application.”

PointsBet plans to share specific goals with the MGC in the immediate future, ahead of this week’s vote.

Other discussion

In addition to diversity goals, the MGC wanted to learn more about PointsBet’s violations in Indiana. Among the incidents was PointsBet uploading betting on events in states that didn’t allow betting on those sports. The operator explained that those mistakes have spurred new practices to avoid future issues.

Another violation included a bettor wagering on the platform. The bettor was not on a self-exclusion list, which is how they slipped through safeguards to place bets. Once PointsBet realized the error, the operator reported the concern to the state regulator.

The explanations by the PointsBet team as to how the problems existed and were handled satisfied the MGC commissioners and didn’t require any discussion in executive session.

“While I think it is a serious issue, I’m happy to learn that it is not as serious as I suspected,” Commissioner Nakisha Skinner said.

That seemed to be a theme Tuesday, as commissioners were largely pleased with what they heard from PointsBet.

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