Massachusetts Legislature

  • Massachusetts will be having a debate on House Bill 3974 on Thursday to regulate sports betting.
  • The debate will end in a vote to either pass the proposal or deny its passage to the Senate Chamber for consideration.
  • A sports wagering industry in Massachusetts projects seeing at least $70 million in annual revenue.

BOSTON – The House of the Massachusetts Legislature will be discussing a sports betting bill on Thursday that would regulate the industry in the Commonwealth.

This is nothing to get too excited about just yet as Massachusetts has seen an enormous number of proposals on the table in 2021 regarding regulating a sports wagering market. There is even a bill that was drafted by Governor Charlie Baker himself which has not seen much traction.

House Bill 3974 would make gambling on sports a regulated activity in the Bay State for all tourists and residents 21 and over.

What’s On The Table With This New Sports Gaming Bill?

Massachusetts sports betting has been a long and winding road for bill after bill, year after year, and nothing to show for all of that time which has been put into the industry thus far. Everyone from lawmakers to professional teams, sportsbook operators, and even residents have come forward to speak in favor of regulating the gambling on sporting events, yet somehow, nothing ever comes of it.

This latest in a horde of legislation on the subject of sports gaming has a lot to offer should it pass its third reading in the House on Thursday. It should be worth noting that passage in the House only means that it will move onto the Senate for further approvals.

Luckily, the Massachusetts Legislature is in session until the end of 2021 giving lawmakers time to regulate sports betting in some way, shape, or form this year.

House Bill 3974 is 38 pages in length. Both professional and collegiate sports betting would be open under the current draft of the bill. Anything that is greenlit by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) would be eligible for wagers. Presently, e-sports, video games, and motorsports are specified within the proposal on top of regular sports.

Retail sportsbooks would be seen at casinos, racetracks, and slot venues in the Commonwealth. Each of these locations would be allowed up to three mobile sportsbook platforms.

There would be a 12.5% tax on all GGR for retail sportsbooks and 15% from mobile sports betting. Estimates project at least $70 million a year in revenue funneling through a sports betting market in Massachusetts.

What’s Ahead

Should a favorable vote come to pass on Thursday, MA HB 3974 will move to the Senate for consideration. Although the Bay State wanted to go live with sports betting by the 2021 NFL season, that didn’t happen. However, if things move quickly, it’s possible to get local sportsbooks up for the Super Bowl in 2022.

“People seem anxious to get it done. I’m glad that we got the opportunity to take it up, and hopefully, we can make it happen,” said Representative Jerald A. Parisella.

With all the bills that Massachusetts has seen on sports wagering, it’s impossible for sports bettors to get their hopes up until legislation officially lands on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for signature, as it’s almost a sure bet that he’ll sign it and get sports betting platforms to go live for his constituents.

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