Massachusetts Gambling Regulator Debates Ban on Non-gambling Bonuses

Massachusetts Gambling Regulator Debates Ban on Non-gambling Bonuses

In 2023, Ohio joined the list of US states that offer legal mobile sports betting. Since then, the market in the state has been growing, attracting bettors and sports fans alike. But after the launch of legal betting in the state, one promotion offered by Fanatics captured the attention of the state’s gambling regulator, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC).

The non-gaming incentive offered to people with new Fanatics Sportsbook accounts the ability to benefit from bonus bets by matching purchases of merchandise from Fanatics. In other words, sports fans who have purchased eligible merchandise were able to benefit from a bonus bet equal to their purchase to use for wagering on sports. Not unexpectedly, the promotion captured the attention of Ohio’s gambling regulator.

Similarly to Ohio, the regulatory watchdog in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), is also exploring opportunities for the potential ban of promotions or bonuses that are not related to betting activities. Earlier this week, the Commission held a meeting, discussing a potential ban for non-gambling-related promotions or bonuses.

The latest meeting marked the first time the issue was put in front of the MGC. Despite some concerns about non-gaming promotions, the commissioners agreed that prior to making changes to the state’s gambling regulations, they need to consult the sector.

Eileen O’Brien, a commissioner with the MGC, shared her concerns about the impact of gambling advertisements, especially among young adults or people under the legal gambling age, which is 21. “The younger you get exposed to this, the more risk you have later,” she said on the topic, as quoted by Sports Betting Dime. According to O’Brien, while there are concerns, the regulator needs to discuss the topic with the state’s licensed operators and find a suitable solution.

The State Has Already Established Tough Rules on Gambling Advertising

Currently, Massachusetts has some of the toughest regulations when it comes to gambling advertising. Licensed operators in the state must include a 21+ icon that informs the consumers of the minimum gambling age. Additionally, gambling operators in Massachusetts are currently not permitted to sign deals with universities across the state.

The recent discussion marks the first step toward a potential ban on non-gambling promotions or bonuses. Still, as noted, nothing is decided as further discussions are required.

Similarly, while the gambling regulator in Ohio looked into non-gambling bonuses or promotions, the state hasn’t taken any action as of yet.

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