Legal sports betting in the United States has been growing in popularity since the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional in 2018. Many states have seen bills fall apart late in the legislative process.

Massachusetts has experienced this fate in the past, however, 2021 could be the year that sports betting enters “The Bay State.”

Massachusetts Sports Betting: Past Sports Betting Efforts

Massachusetts was very close to legalizing sports betting in 2020. Senator Brendan Crighton has been the main proponent behind Massachusetts sports betting since PASPA was overturned. Crighton felt good about the chances of legalization in 2020, but no real progress was made in last year’s legislative session.

Senator Crighton is very hopeful that 2021 will be the year that sports betting becomes legal in Massachusetts. He has led the effort to modify last year’s bill in order to sway more legislators in favor of the form of gambling.

Additionally, the COVID pandemic has put a dent in the Massachusetts economy. The legal sports betting markets in Rhode Island and New Hampshire has caused Massachusetts to lose possible revenue from the form of gambling. Residents are frequently going to these border states to place sports bets which hurts the state.

If the state of Massachusetts legalizes sports betting in 2021, it will be a great way to fill the economic void that was left from the COVID pandemic.


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Massachusetts Sports Betting: 2021 Sports Betting Bill

Senator Crighton could propose his 2021 bill as soon as next week, but a specific date isn’t locked in just yet. However, it’s certain that Senator Crighton will propose an updated sports betting bill during the 2021 legislative session.

The 2021 sports betting bill is similar to the 2020 legislation. There are a few amendments to this year’s bill.

The main change this year revolves around the application fee for sportsbooks looking to enter the state. In 2020, the fee was $1 million, but this year the price has been raised to $10 million.

This could bring in $70 million for the state before a sportsbook even launches in the Massachusetts. Sportsbooks will be charged a 15% tax on both online and retail sports betting revenue.

There will also be no betting allowed on local college teams in this bill. The 2020 bill banned all collegiate sports betting, so this year’s bill is much more favorable for people wagering sports in the state.

Massachusetts Sports Betting: Will Sports Betting be Legalized in 2021?

It’s still unclear whether sports betting will be legalized in Massachusetts this year. More legislators favor the details in this year’s sports betting bill over the 2020 legislation. This doesn’t mean anything until the legislative process begins once Senator Crighton proposes the bill.

An old version of the 2021 bill was already debated in the House last year so representatives know most of the fine print. The big changes that were made this year dealt with the leading complaints in the Massachusetts government from the 2020 term.

Stakeholders outside of the government are pushing to bring sports betting to the state in 2021. DraftKings, FanDuel, and MGM Springfield have made their opinions clear that they favor sports betting.

In addition to these massive stakeholders, the leaders of the Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and Boston Celtics have all stated that they want sports betting brought to Massachusetts as soon as possible.

These supporters will be very favorable for the future of sports betting in Massachusetts. It’s still too early to tell if 2021 is the year that legal sports betting enters the state, but more details should be emerging in the coming weeks once Senator Crighton releases his updated bill.

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Tanner Kern is a former Division I football player at Lafayette College and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. He is currently a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website.

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