Massachusetts Sports Betting Receives Boost
New betting Bills raise hopes for legal sports betting in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has put forward new sports betting legislation. This comes just before his overall state budget proposal, which will be presented before the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting. Bill HD 678 would permit licensed casinos and online websites in the Bay State to offer online sports betting. However, customers would only be allowed to bet on professional sports. Collegiate, high school athletics, or Esports wagers will be prohibited in Baker’s bill.
According to reports, the governor’s bill would allocate approximately $35 million in new revenue to go towards local aid and charity initiatives. Baker has been relying on revenue from sports betting in his budget proposal since 2017. He has made no secret of his desire to expand and improve the gaming industry in the state.
Baker expanded on this, saying that growing and developing the gaming industry in Massachusetts by including betting on professional sports is “an opportunity for Massachusetts to invest in local aid.” He added that the state could make local aid contributions while also keeping pace with multiple other states who are pursuing similar regulations.
The State House moved to approve sports betting legislation in 2020. However, it did not get off the ground in the Senate, which has been a common obstacle to sports betting in the past. At the moment, 20 states, including neighboring New Hampshire and Rhode Island in New England and the District of Columbia, have legal sports betting.
Baker’s proposal will add to the mix of other legislators who are planning to or already have filed other proposals for Massachusetts sports betting. One of these proposals is from Sen. Brendan Crighton, who recently re-filed SD 177.
Following New Jersey Model
Baker has been doing press interviews on the radio in the last week. In one such interview, he revealed that his proposal is based on New Jersey online betting, where sports betting has enjoyed tremendous success. The December sports betting handle in the Garden State nearly reached the $1 billion mark and was a new national record.
Bill HD 678 would see the power to oversee the industry given to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Its duties would include approving license applications and enforcing customer protections. MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge, slots parlors and casinos in Massachusetts, are eligible to apply for a sportsbook license. Additionally, they could choose to partner with outside operators for online sports wagering. Operators who intend to launch online-only platforms could also apply to the MGC for a license.
Any profits from in-person betting would be taxed at 10%, while online wagering would be taxed at 12.5%. Baker also stated that his idea is to tax online daily fantasy sports at 12.5%. Baker’s bill would see applicants forking out a $100,000 application fee and a $500,000 license fee, which would be renewed every five years.
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