The clock is ticking on Massachusetts sports betting legislation getting done in 2022. After things looked promising earlier this year with the state allowing regulators to start making rules, things have slowed significantly.
The Massachusetts legislative session ends on July 31. If legislation is not passed in this session, sports betting will likely not happen in 2022. The committee has a lot of the bill settled. There are a few key sticking points that both parties have been unwilling to budge on so far.
What are Massachusetts Legislators Saying?
Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano told the press he is hopeful sports betting legislation can still pass in this current session.
“He said that both sides were going to have to be willing to move to get to a deal,” WGBH News Reporter Katie Lannan said during an interview on Greater Boston. “We don’t know how much they might have moved at this point. One of the big sticking points is around college sports betting.”
Everyone is wondering about it – SPORTS BETTING! Could this become legal in Massachusetts? Well…it's hard to say. Hear from State House reporter @katielannan: https://t.co/V6dTiwHnr6 pic.twitter.com/TgrVAMSjgD
— Greater Boston (@GreaterBoston) July 18, 2022
Earlier this month, House Gaming Chair and Select Committee member Massachusetts State Rep Jerry Parisella (D-Beverly) Told MassLive he is “hopeful” that a sports betting bill will be done before the end of the session.
College Sports Betting
There may be no more significant sticking point than whether to allow college sports betting in Massachusetts. Many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have mixed feelings about whether to allow betting on college sports.
States around the country have had different legislative decisions on this issue. One solution could be not to allow it initially. That way, a sports betting bill could be passed and revisit the topic in future years.
There have been other states that have done just that. After initially not allowing betting on any in-state college sports teams, Illinois now allows it in a limited scope. Illinois bettors can now bet on in-state teams, but only at a retail sportsbook. Bettors cannot place bets online or on mobile apps for in-state college teams.
Sports Betting Taxes and Consumer Protections
The other two key points that have seemingly put the bill on ice are how much and how to tax sports betting and protect Massachusetts residents. These two issues involve a lot of legal details and can be complicated to break down.
To make it simple, the tax issue is multi-faceted, as every state to legalize sports betting so far has similar but different ways of taxing sports betting operators. These include:
- Licensing Fees for Initial license
- Yearly licensing renewal fees
- The percentage of earnings taxed is based on gross or net earnings.
- Some states allow sportsbooks to take out some of the marketing money spent or take out money given away on bonuses and promos.
The second part essentially says how sportsbooks are allowed to market and in what avenues, as well as how much money is being portioned out for problem gambling resources to ensure that state residents have help should there be a need.