BetMGM Springfield Granted Second Massachusetts Sports Betting License

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • The casino now possesses a Category 1 sports betting license
  • MGM Springfield failed to meet diversity standards during construction
  • The gaming regulator reviewed the application on the merit of the casino, not its other obligations

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) awarded its second sports betting license to MGM Springfield despite local concerns.

“We have received a number of public comments from members of the Springfield community relative to MGM Springfield's compliance with its host community agreement,” Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said Monday.

Monday’s meeting was the second time the regulator had been over the casino’s Category 1 license application. They previously expressed frustration with how closely the application was linked to that of its mobile betting partner, BetMGM, but this time awarded the license.

Acknowledged failures

Last week’s meeting regarding the application had been stalled as the commission sought clearer responses to a variety of questions. MGM Springfield officials were told to return with more direct answers to questions rather than a reference to BetMGM sportsbook’s mobile betting application.

Judd-Stein also opened the meeting by sharing concerns from local community members that were frustrated with the casino’s unmet hiring diversity obligations. State Representative Bud Williams (D-Springfield) also criticized MGM Springfield for failing to meet expectations.

“I share the community’s disappointment with MGM,” Williams said last week. “From their overall performance in comparison to what was promised from day one of the opening dates, to the actual workforce hired, projected revenues, minority participation, redevelopment of certain buildings, and qualified management at the Springfield site by the parent company. What we have is not what was promised.” 

The MGC said during construction that at least 10% of all work contracts should be handled by women-owned businesses. Another 2% of contracts were supposed to run through companies owned by veterans.

Despite the shortcomings, the commission chose to proceed with Monday’s meeting purely based on the merit of the application rather than consider other legal matters related to the casino.

“That agreement was executed as part of the casino licensing process and adherence to the terms of the host community agreement or condition of licensure under Chapter 23K. However, that matter is not directly before the commission today as we review the application which has been submitted for a license under Chapter 23N for sports wagering,” said Judd-Stein.

MA sports betting takes off

The review wrapped up Monday afternoon with MGM Springfield ultimately receiving the state's second legal casino sports betting license. It joins Encore Boston Harbor—a WynnBet-sponsored property—in a young and budding sports betting market.

Visitors will be allowed to bet on any professional sports entity and any non-Massachusetts-based colleges. When they are not betting, they can check out an in-house steakhouse, bars, a gym, a pool, a simulated golf course, and much more. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is also less than a 10-minute walk away for sports enthusiasts looking to take their fandom on the road.

The granting of the license gives BetMGM the land-based partner it needed to avoid applying for a standalone operator’s license. Only seven standalone licenses are available, and six entities—Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet—have already submitted applications.

MGM is looking forward to joining a newly-formed sports betting market at a time when the NFL is nearing the playoffs, the NBA and NHL regular seasons are in full tilt, and the ever-popular March Madness is just around the corner.

“Thank you to the entire commission. As has been referenced on the calendar, it’s aptly timed for the gift of this decision, what it means to the city, what it means to the community and what it will ultimately mean to the state,” MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley said.

Massachusetts was the third state to legalize sports betting in 2022. Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill in the closing hours of an August 10 legislative session that created the market, leaving the MGC to get it set up before its official launch.

MGM Springfield almost failed to submit its license application despite sending the $200,000 payment on November 21. It wasn’t until November 23 that the MGC received the application following what was labeled a “miscommunication.”

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.