Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

  • The legislative session in Massachusetts adjourns on July 31 for the year.
  • MA Governor Charlie Baker is an advocate to legalize sports betting in the state.
  • Legal sports betting in Massachusetts could see an estimated yearly revenue of $20 million.

BOSTON – Lawmakers have been mulling over legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts for years and now a new bill on the issue has surfaced in the state House for consideration.

With plenty of neighboring states having legal sports betting as well as Massachusetts being home to a number of top professional sports teams and diehard fans, lawmakers are currently open to hearing the latest bill.

Massachusetts Sports Betting And House Bill 4559

Massachusetts House Bill 4559 was first introduced on March 12 amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

The House Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies heard the bill’s introduction where it was received favorably to move on to the Committee on the House of Ways and Means.

If MA HB 4559 passes through the House and the Senate, it would more than likely be signed by MA Governor Charlie Baker.

Baker is in favor of legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts, having proposed an act last year to make the hobby legal. “An Act Expanding Sports Wagering in the Commonwealth ” was proposed in 2019 because Baker is an advocate for the legal gambling on sports match ups.

“Regulating this form of gaming in Massachusetts provides an opportunity to implement a structure to safeguard consumers while generating a projected $35 million in revenue in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 that will benefit all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth,” said Baker in 2019.

MA HB 4559 would allow both internet and retail locations for sportsbooks throughout the Bay State. Under the bill, five online platform operators would be allowed licensure, as well as one slot machine parlor, three casinos, and horse racing tracks statewide.

DraftKings is expected to be one of the internet companies used as they are based out of Boston.

Both professional and collegiate sports may be wagered on in the state. There will be a 10% tax on brick and mortar sportsbooks and a 12% tax rate on all online sports betting revenue. No individual live in-game prop bets are allowed for college games under this bill. Esports and Olympic game wagers are also prohibited.

Credit cards cannot be used as a form of payment when placing bets and using official league data would not be required with House Bill 4559.

Fees for casinos, parlors and online sportsbooks for a license to do business amounts to $1 million dollars and must be renewed every 5 years for $500,000. Casinos are allowed three online skins and the slot parlor will be given two.

Horse racing track licensing fees to operate sports betting venues is a much cheaper $150,000 but will need renewals yearly at a cost of $25,000. Based on the numbers, the bill estimates that Massachusetts stands to make $20 million a year in sports betting revenue for the economy.

The legislative session for the state ends on July 31. The Bay State has over three months to get House Bill 4559 to Governor Baker’s desk to sign in order to make sports betting in Massachusetts legal as he’s been vocal about wanting this for his state in the past.

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