With the clock ticking on Massachusetts sports betting, there are still a pair of critical loopholes to solve before sports betting in MA reaches legalization come Sunday’s legislative deadline. The latest details are below.
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Massachusetts Sports Betting Hurdles
Between the Massachusetts House and Senate’s prospective sports betting bills, their biggest points of contention pertain to college sports wagering and the state’s tax rate. Hence, not much has changed in the last month-plus.
For starters, the House included legal betting on collegiate sports while the Senate’s version prohibited it entirely — not just for in-state programs. If the Senate’s bill passes, Massachusetts residents would be unable to wager on both college football and college basketball, which we’ve seen generate plenty of tax revenue for a variety of states during March Madness.
“We heard from every single college president and all of the athletic directors begging us not to include college betting in these bills, that it is not a good thing,” Mass. Senate President Karen Spilka said in an interview with WBUR — Boston’s NPR news station. “These presidents and athletic directors know their students, so that’s why in our Senate version of the bill, we did not all include college (sports betting), but we did allow all other sports betting.”
Moreover, the Senate is aiming to tax online Massachusetts sports betting at 35% and retail betting at 20%. The House has positioned tax rates of 15% and 12.5%, respectively.
The other ways that these two bills contrast are as follows:
- The Senate permits nine sports betting licenses – one for each casino and six untied mobile operators. The House authorizes each casino to have three skins and three horse racetracks, respectively, to have one and unlimited untethered mobile licenses.
- The Senate bans sports betting television advertising during game broadcasts.
- The Senate does not allow for credit card deposits.
Sportsbooks Still Remain Hopeful
Despite the handful of issues remaining, a final plea was shipped off to the Massachusetts House and Senate, as Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) sent a letter to both parties on Tuesday.
“With less than a week remaining in the legislative session, we respectfully implore you to seize on the opportunity to level the playing field in this hyper-competitive industry,” Encore Boston Harbor president Jenny Holaday, MGM Springfield president and COO Chris Kelley and Plainridge Park Casino vice president and general manager North Grounsell said. “We remain readily available to share our policy and operational expertise and working with you towards the establishment of a successful sports wagering market in the Commonwealth.”