Every bit as dramatic and historic as the David Ortiz walk-off home run in the 2004 ALCS that kept the Red Sox playoff run alive, Massachusetts lawmakers hit a walk-off of their own by approving sports betting legislation on the last day of the 2022 legislative session.
Your eyes are not deceiving you. The above statement is factual. According to reports, it went a little past the last day as the formal session stretched past midnight into the morning of Aug. 1. While there was significant back and forth and seemingly too many obstacles to overcome, Massachusetts lawmakers got it done.
How Massachusetts Sports Betting Legislation Passed
There were several significant issues that the House and Senate had to compromise on to get legislation passed, which is why a sports betting conference committee was created.
College Sports Betting
When the proposed bill from the two houses came out this summer, they were in opposite corners on college sports betting. The House had no limits to college sports betting, while the Senate bill did not allow college sports betting at all. The two sides came together. Sports betting will be allowed but not betting on any Massachusetts colleges. The one exception is if a Massachusetts college makes it into a tournament. If that happens, wagers will be allowed on those teams.
Tax Rates, Licences, Advertising Limit
The other three issues that needed to be worked on also saw compromise.
- Tax rates will be 15% for in-person betting, while mobile wagering will be at 20%.
- Credit cards will not be an option for deposits and withdrawals to limit problem gambling.
- The bill did not include the push to ban all in-game advertising for sports betting operators.
All in all, this was a fantastic job by the two legislative Houses to work together to get this done. Many other states have been pushed back months and years because of the inability to make a compromise on smaller issues. Residents and future sports bettors of Massachusetts should be encouraged by the legislator’s willingness to work together and make sports betting a reality for Massachusetts.
When Will Massachusetts Sports Betting Launch
A significant positive was earlier in the year when Massachusetts legislators correctly anticipated passing sports betting legislation. Their anticipation was that they allowed sports betting regulators in the state to start putting rules in place. Doing this should allow for a much faster launch for sports betting operators in the state.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be in control of the launch as soon as Gov. Baker signs the bill. No timetable is set, but two of the state’s casinos — Encore and MGM — appear to be ready to launch the second the gaming commission gives them the go-ahead. What will take longer is the application process for online licenses and issuing those licenses.
AP Photo/Steven Senne