Despite the Boston Celtics defying 2022 NBA odds including the, Massachusetts sports betting has struggled to tip off in recent years. Nevertheless, there may be an encouraging sign pointing to sports betting in MA finally advancing to the finish line in regards to legalization.
Free Pick’Em Contests! Compete for prizes every day by entering our free betting games. NFL, MLB, golf and more!
Massachusetts Sports Betting Catch-Up
On April 28, the Massachusetts Senate passed their version of a bill to legalize sports wagering. It was unanimously successful via a “voice vote,” meaning no senator was required to individually vote one way or the other.
“I am proud to say that this bill is a product of a thoughtful, deliberative process that takes into account the lessons learned in other states who rushed into legalization. Some may wish we had acted sooner, but I am convinced that the time we took resulted in a final product that will be a national model for responsible sports wagering,” Michael Rodrigues, the Senate Ways and Means Chairman, said. “The Senate Ways and Means proposal maximizes the benefits for the commonwealth and minimizes harms to consumers and the general public.”
The bill would permit anyone 21 or older to bet on professional sports at in-state casinos, slot parlor and up to six other brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Online or mobile apps would also be in play. Nevertheless, college sports would be off the table entirely — not just for wagering on in-state collegiate programs, like New York sports betting offers.
Negotiations Between House And Senate Commence
As of Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, the Massachusetts House and Senate began thrashing out their most notable points of contention on a Massachusetts sports betting bill: the aforementioned wagering on college sports, tax rate, advertising restrictions and the number of operators.
Per Eilers and Krejcik LLC, a gaming advisory firm, a provision on collegiate teams could lead to as high as a 50.0% reduction in the state’s overall betting handle. Among the other disputed topics, the disagreed upon tax rate ranges from 15.0% and 35.0%.
For comparison’s sake, Oregon has the lowest sports betting tax rate of any state (2.3%) while Rhode Island ranks No. 1 across the U.S. (51.0%).
Sports Betting Backed By Governor
If the two sides come to an agreement by July 31 — the final day of the formal legislative session — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker appears to be on board. After the Celtics’ victory in Game 1 of the NBA finals, in which they covered as four-point underdogs, he noted that bettors were flocking to nearby New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York to put money down on their hometown team.
“There are a lot of people who literally just drive out of Massachusetts so that they can bet on sports, and it’s happening all over the country,” Baker said. “And without a legal way to do this, it’s a little bit like the marijuana issue. You just leave the black market there, and you don’t sort of bring it out of the shadows and make it part of the regular crime. I think we should do that.”
Baker must have been doing his research. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, 28% of Super Bowl LVI bets made on the New Hampshire platform were from accounts with Massachusetts addresses.
Keep in mind, the state of Massachusetts would benefit plenty from sports betting tax revenue. New York has already tallied a record-setting figure in that department, using much of it towards elementary and secondary education, youth sports programming and problem gambling prevention, treatment, and recovery services.