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Massachusetts Gaming Commission stonewalls two sports betting applications

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Plainridge Park Casino and MGM Springfield will both have to wait for further deliberation.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) delayed deciding upon Plainridge Park Casino's application to launch sports betting on its premises. In a Wednesday hearing, where the five-member body was considering the second of the three casino-based sports applications, a dead end was hit.

Commission Chair Kathy Judd-Stein even commented: “Can we all agree that we all know we can’t make a decision?”" which illustrated the impasse all had come to on the issue.

The first application, filed by Plainridge Casino, was derailed after commissioners expressed concern with Penn Entertainment’s subsidiary Barstool Sports – in particular its founder and spokesperson, Dave Portnoy.

The New York Times claimed in a recent article that its influence had persuaded the MGC to take umbrage with the application. The newspaper highlighted Portnoy’s history, with allegations of sexual misconduct, racism and filing for bankruptcy all brought into the limelight.

The commissioners have made it clear that Penn Entertainment will have to convince them that Portnoy’s character and influence will not harm the young audience that Barstool Sports is aimed at.

The second application was filed by MGM Springfield and will also have to wait for clearance after clerical issues were noted within the paperwork.

MGC Commissioner Nakisha Skinner commented: “At the end of the day, the entire application refers to BetMGM, and so I don’t think we’re going to avoid waiting until BetMGM’s presentation next week before we deliberate on this application.”

MGM Springfield wants to apply for a Category 1 license which would enable them to operate both a physical gaming space and have an affiliated mobile gaming partner – BetMGM.

BetMGM’s license to operate will be considered next week, but Judd-Stein made it clear what the MGC had seen wasn’t enough, saying “We have to get more information.”

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