Author: Dean Carr
Last Updated: August 11, 2022
Online sports betting sites will legally be able to run in Massachusetts after Governor Charlie Baker signed the sports betting bill into law on Thursday.
Previously, residents in Massachusetts were only able to place sports wagers using offshore sportsbooks, but will now have the option to use state-based operators that will now begin the process of obtaining official licenses.
Members on the House and Senate were able to come to an agreement after compromising on a number of factors such as tax revenue. All operators that set up in the state will be required to pay 20% tax on mobile sports betting and 15% tax on retail sports wagering. Early estimates project that $60 million will be generated from sports betting tax revenue in the first year.
Sports bettors using Massachusetts sportsbooks will be unable to place wagers on college sports when the event involves a Massachusetts-based school. However, there is exemption when it comes to post-season tournaments such as March Madness.
All operators will also be expected to follow strict guidelines when it comes to advertising. Sportsbooks have also been given permission to enter official partnerships with professional sports franchises in Massachusetts, with the bill allowing seven skins to set up in the state.
“Our administration first filed legislation to legalize sports wagering in the Commonwealth several years ago, and I am glad to be able to sign this bill into law today,” Baker said.
“We appreciate the dedication and compromise that the Legislature demonstrated on this issue, and we look forward to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the next several months.”
Brad Hill, who is the Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner, has warned that the process of getting operators up and running could take longer than anticipated.
“I want the public to understand, as we as commissioners are starting to understand, that this isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight,” he said.
“I just want the public to be clear, at least from my view — I’m not speaking for the whole commission — but from my point of view, this is going to take a little longer than people probably anticipate, and I’m OK with that.”
North Grounsell, vice president and general manager at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, added: “This is an important step in ensuring that Massachusetts can compete with neighboring states in a highly competitive gaming market and repatriate tax dollars leaving the state.”