Three retail sportsbook operators in Massachusetts won’t have to trash their pitch and Super Bowl marketing and advertising materials, but they will have to recreate them after the NFL’s main event.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently amended a regulation to require a larger font size for responsible gaming messages than was previously in effect, and after representatives from Encore Boston Harbor requested a waiver, it became clear that the amendment I had created an enigma.
In light of the Encore filing, the commission agreed to waive the new font size requirement until at least February 15. The Super Bowl is scheduled for February 12 in Arizona.
The three Massachusetts operators, Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park, have plans to launch retail betting on Tuesday and already have printed advertising and marketing materials. Had the MGC not granted the waiver, all three would have had printed materials that violated the regulations.
Although it was Encore Boston Harbor that requested the waiver before the MGC meeting on Friday, representatives from MGM and Plainridge Park said during the meeting that they also had noncompliant advertising and marketing materials.
Additionally, WynnBET’s Jacqui Krum (Encore) said that under the new guidelines, responsible gaming messages would not fit on billboards. “With the current size requirement, billboards will not be feasible,” he said. “If we have to go billboardless, we’re going to be billboardless.”
In response, the commission discussed the intention to work with the Department of Health, which licenses the messages, to explore whether there is a way to make the font size and length of messages appropriate for billboards.
Live opt-out list
While the source issue was being discussed, the MGC sent out a statement that their opt-out list is now active and available for use. The list is exclusively for sports betting and consumers can join the list in person at any of the three casinos, by calling 1-800-426-1234 or online at www.gamesensema.com.
Massachusetts already has an self-exclusion list for casino gaming, and anyone on that list will remain excluded from casino gaming and will be added to the sports betting exclusion list.
How will sports betting in Massachusetts affect you? you tell us https://t.co/UbFdl1hxti pic.twitter.com/TsMxo2JR8U
– Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) January 27, 2023
“VSE programs have proven to be a successful tool for those who need a break from gaming to manage their own gaming,” MGC President Cathy Judd-Stein said via press release. “In light of the investigation we have in our
removal, the MGC and our licensees are committed to offering these types of programs and a variety of other resources to assist players in the Commonwealth.”
The MGC will launch all three retail sportsbooks on Monday with the full launch beginning at 10am on Tuesday. Both WynnBET sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor and BetMGM sportsbook at MGM Springfield have plans for 10 a.m. kickoff events, while Barstool sportsbook at Plainridge Park will hold a ribbon-cutting event. and launch at 1 pm
Massachusetts law allows retail sports betting at the three existing casinos plus two racetracks, though the racetracks have plans to launch in the future and none have gone through the application process yet. Raynham Park announced this week that it will partner with Caesars Sportsbook for a physical location.
On the digital side, the law allows up to 15 platforms, and 11 have been initially approved for an early March launch so far.