A bill in Massachusetts would make both retail and internet/mobile sports betting legal.

  • A new bill has been brought to the attention of lawmakers in Massachusetts to legalize sports betting.
  • While leagues would like to receive an integrity fee of 0.25%, no such rule is listed under the bill yet but could be a possibility as it moves forward.
  • A conservative estimate of $35 million in annual revenue is what the Bay State could stand to gain from making the wagering on sports matchups legal.

BOSTON – A bill to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts is getting some serious attention from lawmakers.

The new piece of legislation has just come forward with four months left in the 2020 legislative session. The bill would allow for both retail and mobile sports betting platforms in MA.

The Bill Of Hope For Sports Betting In Massachusetts

The Bay State has seen its fair share of bills regarding sports betting. What makes this particular bill different is the fact that a study took place for a year which went over every aspect of gambling on sporting events in the economy of Massachusetts.

Once that study concluded, a bill was drawn up based on its findings.

Under the newest bill, professional and Division I collegiate sports matchups could be gambled on. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would oversee the rules and regulations for the sports betting market. Anyone that wants to engage in the activity must be within state lines and 21 years of age or over.

The Joint Committee on Economic Development has an all-encompassing idea of those that would be eligible to open sportsbooks. Any gaming business would have the opportunity to open a sportsbook. This includes all horse racing tracks in the state that are currently operational. There will also be room for a maximum of five internet sports gambling platforms.

All mobile sportsbook operators would be chosen based on their proven track record of business. Companies like DraftKings are the type of online sportsbook operator that Massachusetts wants which is why they’ve limited the mobile market to five.

DraftKings is also working with the committee to bring legal sports betting to Massachusetts.

“We didn’t rush this process. We took a very deliberative approach, recognizing that there were goals to this legislation and above all else was to protect the consumer and the taxpayer. We always said that we wanted to be in the black on this bill and not suffer losses like other states have done,” said Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, House chair of the committee, on Friday.

Tax revenue from sports betting would be collected on a monthly basis. There is a 10% tax set on retail sportsbooks and a 12% tax on internet sports betting applications. There is another tax of 12% for fantasy sports contests.

All tax revenue would be put in a Gaming Revenue Fund. A Health, Wellness, and Education Fund for college athletes would be established and receive 5% of all revenue from sports betting in hopes of making sure the players do not succumb to the pressures that can come with wagers being made on their games.

“If there’s a threat, if there’s a security issue, if there’s an educational issue, we would put aside revenue into a fund to provide them with the extra support that they would need,” said Ferrante.

With as much thought and time that has gone into making this bill, the legislature now has a number of months to decide whether all of that hard work was enough to legalize gambling on sporting events in the Bay State.

On paper, the proposal has everything listed to add a successful new revenue stream to the economy in Massachusetts. Being home to so many great teams, sports betting is something that is happening either way so lawmakers believe they may as well allow the economy to profit from it while protecting their residents from the black market.

“This bill is an important step toward eliminating the pervasive illegal market, creating a safe and responsible sports betting experience for sports fans in Massachusetts and boosting the Commonwealth’s innovation economy,” said a DraftKings spokesman.

“We want to thank Chair Ferrante and the members of the House Economic Development Committee for their leadership and diligence on this issue. We look forward to working with Chair Michlewitz and all the members of the House Ways and Means Committee to move this legislation forward.”

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