Massachusetts residents will now be able to wager on the Carvana Professional Pickleball Association Tour after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved the sport, and specifically the tour, for inclusion in the state’s sports betting catalog.

The Professional Pickleball Association sanctions the league, which has its next fixture this weekend in Kansas City. The petition to have the Tour included came from FanDuel, but was put to the commissioners in the MGC Open Meeting that took place on 24 August, 2023.

What is pickleball?

Putting the case to the commissioners was MGC’s Casino Regulatory Manager Andrew Steffen. He explained: “It’s a US based professional tournament involving domestic and some international players, conducted around the country similar to ATP and WTA tennis tours”. Pickleball- prize money in 2023 will reach $5.3 million, and money is awarded to competitors for reaching different stages of each tournament.

While playing on the tour, professional players compete on the tour for ranking points, which then ultimately factors into their tour ranking and determines their base compensation. FanDuel’s petition assures “all wagers will be settled on official results from the PPA Tour themselves, by way of official scoresheets”.

Steffen noted that “FanDuel has answered all applicable questions – also FanDuel has permission from the PPA Commissioner, on behalf of the PPA Tour, to submit wagering applications in all jurisdictions in which it operates.”

Where can bettors wager on pickleball?

The commission heard that the PPA was currently live in eight states. These were: Connecticut, Illinois, Wyoming, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado and Maryland. Approval is also pending for wagering in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Massachusetts sports betting was only legalized recently in comparison, and the commission’s main causes for concern surrounded why the Tour was pending in the NJ, PA and AZ as well as the sport’s integrity controls.

FanDuel submitted, as part of the petition, house rules. It also submitted supplemental information with how the company plans to offer wagering and internal controls they will use to ensure the product is offered in a controlled, measured, and safe manner. It also provided the 86-page rulebook from US state pickleball.

Commissioner Brad Hill exclaimed “Pickleball is huge. I can’t go to any tennis court in my area anymore without there being some type of a pickleball. Whether it’s my friends in the senior center or just you know, the new and improved sports that’s been picked up by many”.

Steffen stated that his research reaffirmed that pickleball is “rising in popularity, it’s one of the fastest growing sports”.

The other commissioners had questions around US Integrity, and Sportradar, as both had mentions in the FanDuel petition. Pickleball has not faced any scandals, betting related or otherwise in its thus far short lifespan.

After convening for lunch, Steffen had answers from FanDuel’s representatives outlining that the states in which the sport was pending was due to time differences, and that referees, administrators and players had completed Sportradar integrity training, which was also ongoing.

The integrity reassurance was enough to assure the commissioners, who then voted the motion through after the move was made by Commissioner Hill. It is now down to Massachusetts retail and mobile sports betting operators to supply prospective bettors with pickleball markets