Mass. Gaming Commission reviews MGM Springfield sports betting application

MGM President Chris Kelley called Wednesday’s application review, which lasted nearly five hours, a “milestone moment,” but it will be a little longer before a
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 4:56 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reviewed an official application for retail sports betting kiosks at MGM Springfield on Wednesday.

MGM President Chris Kelley called Wednesday’s application review, which lasted nearly five hours, a “milestone moment,” but it will be a little longer before a vote is held and an official decision is made.

“We spent several million dollars that aligned with our third anniversary in August 2021 to create one of the most compelling sports viewing experiences in the fleet, and something that we believe creates an unparalleled experience for our guests in this region,” Kelley told us.

Officials at MGM Springfield met with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Wednesday morning for an application review of its category 1 sports wagering license for an in-person retail sportsbook.

After a sports betting bill was passed by Governor Charlie Baker on August 10th, 15 sports wagering platforms submitted an official application, including 3 vying for a “category 1″ license. They include Plainridge Park Casino, Encore Boston Harbor, and MGM Springfield.

“We spent about $4 million in capital on both our sports lounge and VIP experience viewing in the back of Tap,” Kelley said.

State Senator Eric Lesser, who led the charge to legalize sports gambling in the Bay State, spoke with Western Mass News about the impact that a retail license approval could have.

“It will hopefully get done in short order, but they’re gonna run their process,” he said. “It’s gonna be a big moment for the state. It’s going to be an entirely new sector, entirely new industry; it’s going to mean tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for the state.”

Kelley added that the retail license would add seven new full-time and six new part-time positions at the casino.

“We are one of the largest employers in the city of Springfield, and we are one of the largest taxpayers in the city of Springfield,” he told us.

A formal vote was originally on Wednesday’s agenda. However, as a potential category 1 operator, MGM Springfield would have the ability to partner with up to two digital partners. MGM has already indicated that they intend to use one online platform, BetMGM, which was established in July 2018.

“It is a service provider for all of our retail operations in both Las Vegas and regionally,” Kelley said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, gaming commissioners said that it is not possible to conduct a complete review of the application without examining the online platform first.

“In terms of a full evaluation and deliberation on the application, I’m just not prepared to do that today without having the benefit of the review of the BetMGM application,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Nakisha Skinner.

Plainridge Park Casino’s application, which was formally reviewed Tuesday, resulted in a similar outcome regarding the online platform.

A date has not been set for the BetMGM application review. In Wednesday’s meeting, the gaming commission announced that it will likely be sometime next week.