Massachusetts sports fans have a lot to celebrate this weekend. While the Bruins and Celtics each prepare for their respective playoff games, state lawmakers are working to ensure that bettors can wager on the Stanley Cup and NBA Championships by this time next year.
Senate Authorizes MA Legal Betting Bill
On Thursday, the Senate voted to pass a sports betting bill numbered H.3993. The item has undergone several amendments since working its way through the House back in 2021. One of the most prominent changes to this legislation was the exclusion of collegiate betting options.
Other alterations included the removal of credit card banking as well as limitations for sportsbook advertising. The Senate also bargained for more money from operators.
The annual tax rate for in-person operators went from 12.5% to 20%. For mobile sportsbooks, the figure jumped from 15% to 35%. When asked about the drastic change, Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues told reporters the following:
“…One of the missions of this particular bill was to provide the best benefit for the commonwealth’s citizens and taxpayers, not the best benefit for the online gaming operators that want to work here.”
Rodrigues makes a strong point here. Steep rates haven’t stopped operators from applying for licenses in other legal sports betting states.
When New York announced its 51% tax for mobile operators, DraftKings and FanDuel didn’t pull out of the running for a license. Inversely, they choose to fight even harder for the coveted permit.
With up to $35 million in annual revenue on the table, it’s hard to imagine that any lawmaker would pass this up. Even so, the subject will likely be the first topic of contention when the amended bill is presented to House lawmakers later next week.
Delays To Stay In The Rear-View Mirror
Because of the various modifications to H.3993, the bill must undergo another round of approvals from the House before it can be sent to the Governor.
And after sitting on the measure for almost a year, Massachusetts sports betting fans have begun to put pressure on lawmakers. But members of the Senate have pushed back and argued that the delays have been essential to a successful launch.
Sen. Eric Lesser, who is also an active gubernatorial candidate, said this:
“Because we waited, we learned a lot…We learned what works, we learned what doesn’t work. We learned what you need to do to make sure you’ve got a competitive market and a really good product, a high-quality product, for consumers. That’s really important.”
Massachusetts’ state legislators have until the end of July to submit a final document to Gov. Charlie Baker. Both chambers are optimistic that legal mobile sports betting options will be available within the next year.
For more information on legal sports betting in your state, head over to our betting how-to guides to find everything you need to get started!
Source: NBC Boston