Massachusetts has yet to legalize sports betting, but state officials are preparing to launch quickly once that happens. Sports betting rules and regulations are being established now ahead of legalization.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Executive Director Karen Wells presented proposed rules and topics for the prewriting of guidelines at MGC’s June meeting.
MGC Chair Cathy Judd Stein noted the progressive approach being taken in the Commonwealth.
“I think we all appreciate that each piece of legislation contains specific policies and prescriptions that we, as the potential regulator, could only consider and begin to address after a bill is signed into law,” she said. “But we have been thinking about this, and we believe that we can make certain assumptions that are neutral and not tied to any one policy but relevant, regardless of any particular legislative outcome, to legalize sports wagering in the Commonwealth.”
Stein emphasized that these preliminary moves will help facilitate a fast launch after a sports betting bill is signed into law.
Massachusetts could reap significant tax revenue with the legalization of sports betting. The American Gaming Association estimated an annual betting handle of $6.9 billion for the state.
Massachusetts Legislative Sticking Points
The Massachusetts legislators have until the end of July, when their session ends, to pass a sports betting bill. Massachusetts sports bettors will be left waiting until 2023 if it doesn’t happen by then. Here are major hurdles that still need to be cleared based on recent events.
Operator Licenses in Massachusetts
- The House has pushed for unlimited licenses while the Senate wants a maximum of nine.
- The House wants an online tax rate of 15% and a retail tax rate of 12.5%. The Senate is pushing for a 35% retail tax rate and 20% online tax rate.
College Sports Wagering
- The Senate bill does not allow it, while the House bill does.
- The Senate has pushed for more stringent advertising laws.