It took some last-minute negotiations in Massachusetts but Mass sports betting has passed. The two sides haggling over the specifics managed to come to an agreement in the wee hours on Monday morning.
Once Gov. Charlie Baker signs the bill into law – a formality as he already expressed his support – MA sports betting could go live as soon as later this year, according to one report.
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MA Sports Betting Bill Passes After Extended Deadline
The deadline for Mass. sports betting was supposed to be the calendar turning to Aug. 1. However, the stakeholders looking to get the bill passed were locked in negotiation that actually stretched past the deadline. Thanks to several hour-long extensions, they actually got the agreement hammered out early Monday.
“I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports in Massachusetts, bringing the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to MA,” wrote House Speaker Ron Mariano on Twitter.
He went on to call Massachusetts sports betting “an incredible economic opportunity.”
According to the reporting of Matt Kredell at PlayMA, the timeline could actually see Massachusetts fans placing wagers before the calendar turns to 2023. A member of the House told him legislators could fast-track things and get betting live by the middle of the NFL season, which would be an incredibly quick turnaround.
Partial College Betting Ban Passes
Several hurdles remained heading into the final negotiating session before Massachusetts sports betting could be passed. Most of the minutiae isn’t terribly relevant for the average bettor. Note that the market could see up to 15 legal betting apps, though.
The piece of language and the negotiating sticking point that will likely affect most bettors: the bill disallows most wagering on in-state college teams. Now, that’s not as big a deal in Massachusetts as it would be in some states. Boston College, UMass, and some other schools play sports at a high enough level that most sportsbooks offer markets for them. But even if those markets existed in Massachusetts, the wagering would pale in comparison to interest in the state’s popular Boston pro franchises.
States like Illinois have managed to generate plenty of revenue with similar language.
One part of the bill does provide a small amount of wiggle room. Bettors can wager on in-state teams participating in a tournament that features four or more competitors. Not writing in that sort of language has created issues in states like New Jersey.
Credit Card Deposits Blocked
Another piece of the language that bettors may notice is the state did decide to block credit card deposits. Since sportsbooks usually offer plenty of deposit options, most bettors will likely find a palatable option.