Caesars Sportsbook Receives Third Sports Betting License in Massachusetts

USA Legal Betting


  • Caesars joins WynnBet and BetMGM as MA licensees
  • Caesars joins through a partnership with Encore Boston Harbor Casino
  • Caesars will make performance-based and mandatory minimum payments to the casino

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted unanimously Monday to grant the state’s third sports betting license to Caesars sportsbook.

Caesars joins WynnBet and BetMGM in the list of companies with access to the soon-to-open Massachusetts market through partnerships with local casinos. Both Caesars and WynnBet received permission to join the market through arrangements with Encore Boston Harbor in Everett.

Despite receiving the license, Caesars (nor any other sportsbook) will be able to accept bets until the market launches in what is hoped to be Spring 2023.

Details of the partnership

Caesars sportsbook has quickly become one of the best online sportsbooks since launching in 2021. Through its recent approval by the MGC, it is now set to appear in 19 states plus Washington D.C. in the next half-year.

The company shared its vision for its partnership with the Wynn-owned Encore casino at a December 14 meeting with the MGC. It stated that the partnership would be similar to what it has in place in other states and will benefit both entities.

“In partnership with Wynn, we’re able to, through your review here, access their first skin or ability to use a second brand for the commonwealth,” said Caesars chief financial officer, Eric Hession. “And in exchange, we’re providing them with financial payments based on our performance in the state along with some minimum amount that we’re paying per year.”

Encore Boston Harbor is one of two casinos that have been granted retail sports betting licenses thus far—the other is BetMGM Springfield, which was given a license Monday after being stalled last week.

Hession revealed that Caesars will be making performance-based payments and mandatory minimum fees to Wynn through its agreement. He also promised that Caesars will be forthcoming with the requested information to stay in the good graces of the MGC and Wynn.

“It ensures that we’re complying with all of the reporting requirements and so forth, but it’s mainly a financial transaction with them,” said Hession.

Regulators questioned how Caesars planned to uphold Massachusetts law banning credit cards from funding sportsbook transactions. The operator replied that it had technology in place that would reject credit card payments and it could “audit transactions on the back end” to ensure third parties weren’t used to facilitate credit card payments.

Ongoing regulatory reviews

There has been a lot of noise coming out of Massachusetts lately as it continues to set up its sports betting market.

One of the biggest sticking points involves the pending license of Barstool sportsbook, whose application was put on hold amid controversy and condescension involving founder Dave Portnoy.

Portnoy was the subject of a recent New York Times article that painted him as a “degenerate gambler” and in an overall negative light. The company itself was also recently fined for filming an advertisement for its sportsbook at the University of Toledo in Ohio, which violated state laws.

MGM Springfield also encountered pushback when pursuing its license, even though it ultimately received it. Regulators were forced to abandon a meeting last week after finding the casino’s application contained language too similar to that of BetMGM’s online betting application and that it did not differentiate itself enough as a land-based operator.

Springfield locals also shared cries that the casino did not fulfill its community obligations, including awarding a minimum of 10% and 2% of building contracts to women and veteran-owned businesses, respectively.

The MGC is yet to decide on the future of seven standalone betting licenses. Licensees would not need to bind themselves to retail establishments and would still be free to offer online betting services to eligible customers.

So far, Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet have all applied for standalone licenses.

The MGC has an estimated launch date for Massachusetts sports betting of March 2023, theoretically to capitalize on the popularity of March Madness betting. If it can speed up the timeline, it could make the February 12 deadline for Super Bowl LVII, which figures to continue the trend of Super Bowl betting being the most popular in the American sports calendar.

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.