Massachusetts Sports Betting: Showing Promise

The state of Massachusetts, specifically Boston, has held the distinction of title town for the past 20 years. In that time the city has combined to win 12 championship titles across all four major sports. The Patriots have won 6, Boston Red Sox have added 4, and the final two came from each the Celtics and Bruins.

The love for their sports team runs deep in Boston. With all the success they have had it only seems right that citizens are pouring in massive support to pass legislation to legalize sports betting. Currently, there have been 14 different bills submitted for legalization. Of those 14 there are 11 different proposals.

Two bills already have counterparts in opposite sides of chambers while two other bills in the house are virtually the same other than the distribution of tax revenue from betting. Massachusetts is no stranger to legalized betting and can look to their neighbors to get ideas. New Hampshire and Rhode Island already offer full 

Which Bill Will Be the Winner?

There are plenty of famous Bill’s from Boston. Burr, Belichick and Russell to name a few but none of them will ever have the impact on Massachusetts that the legalized sports betting one will have. While none of the 14 bills are bad on their own, most just contain one or two components that receive criticism.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s MA HD 678 bill contains tax rates that would tax 10% on retail and 12.5% for online mobile betting. A conservative estimate of $35 million in annual revenue has been projected to be seen if Baker’s bill receives passage. But his complete ban on college sports betting limits the revenue to be made. 

Massachusetts Sports Betting Update

Sen. Bruce Tarr (SD 2259) also proposes a ban on college betting. The biggest supporter for banning college betting are the NCAA member schools themselves. The schools believe that betting will ruin the “amateur” status applied to college athletes as well as lead to point shaving scandals.

A hot bill getting a lot of attention comes from Sen. Eric Lesser. MA SD 2365 would make sports betting legal in traditional brick and mortar casinos as well as mobile apps. Lesser differs from previously mentioned bills with his support of collegiate wagers in his bill.

Any person age 21 and above would be allowed to place wagers on games. A 20% tax for retail sports books and 25% for mobile and DFS platforms would be enforced. Lesser believes that online and mobile betting is key, for availability reasons as well as for safety while the country is still dealing with COVID-19

Two important bills were introduced last week as well. The two bills that were introduced were HD.3606, presented by Rep. Orlando Ramos, and SD.2237, presented by Sen. Adam Gomez. These were strategically presented at the same time for both the Senate and the House.

These bills would open many more opportunities that others try to limit. The two bills, if passed, would create a class two license that would allow bars and restaurants to operate rate kiosk books in their place of business.


Outlook for Massachusetts Sports Betting Legalization

It is a good sign for sports bettors that so many bills are being proposed to the Massachusetts legislation. There is overwhelming support for the legalization from citizens to their elected representatives.

The downside to so many bills is that it takes focus off the big picture of legalization and focuses on little details. Massachusetts will gain legal status within a year, if some of these bills can be combined by their proposers than the process will be sped up. 

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I grew up in Florida playing baseball, football, lacrosse, and basketball. My love for sports led me to the University of Miami where I earned my degree in Sports Administration. I follow the Miami Heat, Dolphins, Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars. I enjoy writing about legal developments, gambling, and team building throughout professional sports. In the future, I hope to work in the front office of a professional sports team doing contract negotiation and player acquisition.

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