• A hearing on sports betting took place on Tuesday.
  • College wagering was a major topic of discussion.
  • Potential tax revenue was also discussed during the hearing.

BOSTON – Massachusetts lawmakers discussed sports betting in a hearing on Tuesday.

Massachusetts’ Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a hearing for sports betting. There are several sports betting bills that are currently up for consideration in Massachusetts. Lawmakers talked about several topics during this hearing. One of the main issues was how to deal with collegiate betting.

Split On College Betting

There have been 19 different sports betting bills introduced in Massachusetts this year. That means that there are several paths the state can take in regards to college sports betting. Governor Charlie Baker’s sports betting bill takes a hands-off approach. He introduced MA HB 68 and it bans college betting completely.

He and his cabinet said that they wanted to “strike a balance” when it comes to legalizing sports betting. They believe by only allowing professional betting, they will achieve that balance. Other lawmakers are not convinced.

“We cannot compete with the legal market unless we allow betting on NCAA games,” said Senator Brendan Crighton.

Crighton introduced MA SB 201 to legalize sports wagering. In his bill, college betting can happen. The only restriction is that bettors in the state cannot bet on Massachusetts college teams. This is a common trend in the New England area. Rhode Island and New Jersey have similar rules.

There are other approaches up for consideration as well. Some bills in Massachusetts will not have any restrictions on collegiate gambling. Meaning that Massachusetts could potentially bet on home college teams.

Realistic Revenue Expectations

Potential revenue earnings were also discussed during the hearing on Tuesday. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was present in the hearing. They said that yearly legal sports betting revenue could be between $11 million and $45 million a year. That is if the tax rate is around 10 percent of gross revenue.

The suggestion from the commission is that the tax rate should not be higher than 15 percent. The lowest suggested tax rate is around 6.25 percent. At the absolute lowest tax rate, Massachusetts should expect $8.5 million a year. The highest could net $61.3 million.

The Commission also noted that revenue could be lower due to sports betting trends. Rhode Island sportsbooks lost more than $2 million when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Massachusetts could face a similar scenario in the future. The main point is that the Commission wants expectations to be low for potential revenue earnings.

Massachusetts Sports betting is starting to take shape. This hearing will help guide lawmaker know what they should be aiming for with sports betting. It is unclear if any of the current proposals meet all talking points at this time. It is possible that lawmakers will need to create a new bill. As discussions continue, this will become clearer.

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