Massachusetts Making Progress on Sports Betting

Massachusetts Making Progress on Sports Betting

A bill that would legalize sports betting in the state of Massachusetts has made it out of a Senate Committee and will now be presented to the full Senate this week. The Ways and Means Committee was taking a close look at the bill and a vote of approval come on Friday.

There has been plenty of momentum in the Senate for legal sports betting, but it still might not lead to a new law being signed. Members of the House of Representatives have spoken out against this bill in the past.

Karen Spilka is the current Senate President and that group was not looking to legalize sports betting when 2022 started. Spilka was pleased with the passing of the bill, and now the entire Senate will get to express their thoughts on the bill.

The regular legislative session is set to end on July 31, but those lawmakers will still be meeting through January 2, 2023. The House of Representatives is also hoping to pass a sports betting bill and that could create a conflict that will keep anything from being passed.

Massachusetts is surrounded by states with legal sports betting as Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all have this form of betting available. Governor Charlie Baker supports legal sports betting and he is expected to sign a bill if one lands on his desk.

Senate Bill Has Some Flaws

One of the biggest flaws in the current Senate bill is that betting on all collegiate sporting events would be banned. Oregon is the only other state in the U.S. to have this restriction and it would cost the state some revenue.

The Senate sports betting revenue will be taxed at a rate of 20% for retail betting and 35% for online or mobile wagering. The House tax rates are much lower and that will allow the state to attract better sports betting options.

Members of the House of Representatives have already spoken out against the ban on college sports, and that tax rate won’t be approved either. There are some parts of this Senate bill that will work, but some changes might need to be made.

Casinos Backing the House

Another major issue for the sports betting bill in the Senate is the fact that it won’t get the backing from the casino owners and operators. That group has put its support behind the bill coming from the House because it would be the casinos that get to offer online betting.

Each casino would be able to partner with three online sportsbooks and then fees would be charged. Those casinos would then see an increase in revenue as opposed to allowing online-only operators to enter the state.

DraftKings and FanDuel would likely become two of the top online sports betting options if this industry was launched.

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