PointsBet, a digital betting company first founded in Australia, is pulling out of the brand-new Massachusetts sports wagering market after working for months with regulators to launch a mobile sportsbook here, gaming regulators said Thursday.
It is the second time a company has publicly announced its intent to withdraw from the Bay State betting market, which just launched in-person wagering on Jan. 31 and plans to start mobile betting on March 10. Bet365 announced last month that it was dropping a bid to offer mobile betting connected to Raynham Park.
The withdrawal will leave another mobile betting license not tied to a land-based casino up for grabs, pending Massachusetts Gaming Commission approval. Regulators approved six untethered sports betting companies earlier this year to operate mobile or digital products in Massachusetts, and only five remain after PointsBet’s decision to leave.
It comes as some industry analysts offer a mixed outlook on the future of Massachusetts’ ability to retain all of the mobile wagering companies that originally sent applications to the Gaming Commission, whether tied to a brick-and-mortar operation or not.
MGC Executive Director Karen Wells said PointsBet communicated their intent to withdraw their application Wednesday night.
“That is a recent development,” Wells said, adding that the company had not submitted the $1 million temporary licensing fee nor requested a temporary license. Companies also eventually need to fork over $5 million to regulators upon receiving their full sports betting license. The company also paid a $200,000 application fee to the commission.
Wells said PointsBet indicated its withdrawal in a letter to regulators, a copy of which was not immediately available.
A PointsBet spokesperson said in a statement to MassLive that the company decided to withdraw its application to “emphasize our continued focus on our 14 live states of the US (plus Ontario) and how we can best optimize those markets which provide an immense [total addressable market] for us to go after.”
“We would like to thank the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for their consideration of our application, conducting extensive hearings, and deeming PointsBet suitable for licensure ahead of the launch of legalized sports wagering in the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” the spokesperson said.
What PointsBet said in 2022
In its original application to regulators from November 2022, PointsBet officials had said they were “well placed” to adapt their mobile betting platform to conform with “all necessary requirements for a successful and timely launch within the commonwealth.”
“PointsBet’s experienced multi-disciplinary launch teams have demonstrated our agile, flexible and rapid deployment capabilities when launching the PointsBet technology platform and marketing campaigns in every new jurisdiction that PointsBet has entered,” the company wrote later in the document. “PointsBet will leverage our experienced go-to-market planning and launch execution in Massachusetts.”
The company said it did not have office space in Massachusetts, but was considering “hiring suitable candidates to be employees based within the commonwealth for remote positions as appropriate.”
“In previous jurisdictions that PointsBet has launched operations in, there has been an expansion of resources and locations spect across the U.S.,” the 2022 application said. “… PointsBet always takes advantage of new and unique opportunities to expand across the country and Massachusetts would be another great opportunity to explore similar expansions.”
Which companies are in the mix for mobile betting?
Regulators did approve nine temporary mobile betting licenses Thursday ahead of the March 10 launch. That includes licenses for BallyBet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Betr, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and WynnBET.
BallyBet, an untethered mobile license, and Fanatics, whose license is connected to Plainridge Park Casino, told regulators they will not launch on March 10 but plan to go live sometime in May.
Betway told regulators “they will soon submit a request for a temporary license as well as the $1 million licensing fee,” a commission spokesperson said.
“However, they will not be launching in the commonwealth for approximately one year,” the spokesperson said.