Senator Brendan Crighton

  • Senate Bill 177 has been filed in the state legislature that would legalize retail and mobile sportsbooks in Massachusetts in 2021.
  • Millions of dollars are expected to be gained by a legal sports betting industry in the Bay State through the legalization of the market.
  • The Massachusetts Legislature adjourns on December 31, giving lawmakers the whole year to decide on the fate of legal sportsbooks.

BOSTONSenate Bill 177, a bill to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, has been officially filed by Senator Brendan Crighton. Crighton previously worked on legislation that would have given Massachusetts legalized sports betting but all of those proposals failed to come to fruition.

With that in mind, the bill sponsor feels as though MA SD 177 is a draft that will satisfy both sides of the spectrum, coming to a happy medium that will leave fewer opposed to the idea when it comes time to vote in committee.

Since 2018, the opinions of many have been heard and the current bill has been cultivated to ensure the people of the Bay State know their voices have been heard when it comes to the sports betting industry and its path toward legalization.

Details Of Senate Bill 177

There is no cap to the number of sportsbooks that could be licensed to operate under Senate Bill 177. Crighton told LSB last week that he left this detail open-ended because it would be a topic of discussion during hearings which is when a decision on it would be made.

No in-state college sports are open for wagers under this piece of legislation at the request of the institutions themselves.

There is an application fee of $10 million for anyone wishing to operate a sportsbook in Massachusetts. A renewal fee for licensees would be required every five years at a cost of $1.25 million. An estimated $70 million could be made in the Bay State through these initial application fees alone, allowing the economy to profit from a market before it is even formally unveiled to the public.

Off-track wagering establishments, horse racing tracks, and the two casinos in the state will all qualify to open sports betting venues. Mobile-only sports betting platforms also have the ability to apply and receive licenses to launch their sports betting applications.

A 15% tax rate on all GGR is set as Crighton believes this to be a competitive number while still allowing businesses to profit as it’s also not exceedingly high.

The two casinos and one racino in the Commonwealth would solidify the presence of Barstool, BetMGM, and WynnBET sports wagering platforms should MA SD 177 be signed into law.

What’s Next For Massachusetts?

Two bills, House Bill 118 and House Bill 119 sponsored by Representative Bradford Hill also want to make sports betting legal in Massachusetts but in a very different way.

A required eight-person commission to research online and mobile sportsbooks would be called on with appointees from Governor Charlie Baker, House and Senate committee members, and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

Should these bills come to pass, the research committee would need to start their work within 30 days. They would then have four months to study the effects of mobile sportsbooks as it would pertain to the Bay State extending the timeline of when an actual industry could launch.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is included within these bills and has a tax rate of 15%. There are currently no DFS taxes stipulated in Massachusetts despite the industry being open to players. Hill hopes to tax the market with his proposals.

The House bills and the Senate bill currently on the table will get their fair share of time on the floor within the Massachusetts Legislature as the 2021 session is underway and adjourns on December 31, giving lawmakers plenty of time to discuss sports betting legalization in Massachusetts.

News tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | |