Uncertainty surrounded the possibility of a deal not being reached in Massachusetts as the clock was clicking closer to zero. However, it became clear that lawmakers didn’t want to waste the opportunity of legalizing sports betting as the deal came together in the early hours of Monday.
Sports Betting Deal was Struck in the Last Minutes of the Session
For the longest time, the House and the Senate couldn’t come to an agreement on a few things, but sports betting will make its way to the Bay State. Both mobile and retail sports wagering will be available for bettors across the state.
According to the bill, the tax rate for online operators will be set at 20 percent, and retail sportsbooks will be subject to 15 percent. The bill will be on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk as he must sign it into law to become official. The Senate also desired a higher tax rate that would only trail New York and Pennsylvania.
Rep. David Muradian, a member of the six-person conference committee, stated on a news source:
“I think if we don’t get a bill done, we have failed the citizens of the commonwealth,… I mean, it’s been abundantly clear — for sessions now — that they want it.”
Casinos and racetracks will be able to receive licenses as seven mobile licenses will be up for grabs. There was a long discussion of a possibility of an advertisement ban as some believe that these ads are not suitable for those that aren’t of betting age. Funding accounts with credit cards will be prohibited in Massachusetts.
There will be one ban that the House and the Senate were able to find the middle ground on. This pertains to sports wagering on college sports.
What was the Main Reason for the Delay of the Sports Betting Bill?
Bettors in Massachusetts will have a lot of options to choose from when the operation begins. Legislators will have to make another push in next year’s legislative session if the deal didn’t come together.
College sports betting was a key to getting the bill passed, as college sports betting generates a plethora of revenue each year for many jurisdictions across the industry. It had been said that sports betting could have been a make or break for Massachusetts.
Potential revenue would decline by $20 to $35 million without college betting, according to the House. There will be one exception to the college betting market in the Bay State.
Wagering on in-state collegiate teams will be prohibited except for tournaments like March Madness. Nearby states like New York and New Jersey have the same set of rules in place that prohibits bettors from placing bets on in-state teams.
When Could the Operation Begin?
There is no date set on when the operation will begin. However, the goal for most markets that are entering the industry as of late wanted to start just in time for the NFL season. Ohio is one of the states that wanted to start by this upcoming NFL season but will start on January 1, 2023.
This is a big win for potential bettors in Massachusetts as they no longer have to cross state lines to place bets for the most part. Massachusetts could have the most lucrative market in the New England region.