Negotiations Begin for Sports Betting in Massachusetts

Negotiations Begin for Sports Betting in Massachusetts

It is clear that a majority of lawmakers in Massachusetts are in favor of legal sports betting, but that much support has actually created an issue. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed a sports betting bill, and the bills are not similar.

There is currently a committee of both Representatives and Senators that are working to condense both bills into one. It’s unclear what a final sports betting bill would look like as each side is firm in what it believes should be included.

Governor Charlie Baker is in favor of legal sports betting as well, and he is committed to signing a bill if one lands on his desk. Baker is hoping to include funds from sports betting to help get over some financial hardships that the state is facing.

The New England region of the United States has seen plenty of growth in the sports betting industry, but Massachusetts has been left out. DraftKings is actually based in Massachusetts, and it has been pushing hard for sports betting as well.

The legislative session is set to end on July 31, giving the committee one full month to get something put together. A final bill would have to pass through both chambers of the state legislature, and that could be a problem depending on what is included.

The six-person group is made up of three Senators and three Representatives, and each group will push for the ideas from their own chamber.

Bills Are Far Apart

The committee is going to have to work hard to create a bill that works for both sides, as there are some serious differences. These issues begin with betting on college sports and continue all the way down to the discussion of the tax rate.

The bill from the House looks very similar to bills that have been passed in other states, while the Senate bill is a bit more radical. Senators want to impose a 35% tax rate on revenue, while the House bill puts a cap on that at 15%.

Sports bettors would prefer having the bill from the House getting passed as it would allow for betting on college sporting events. The Senate bill does not allow for this type of wagering, and it would put a big cap on the betting options.

The bill from the Senate would also cap the number of online sports betting licenses at nine, while the House bill would allow for an unlimited amount. There are also some concerns about advertising by sportsbooks, and each bill has some restrictions, but the Senate bill would impose strong restrictions.

Bettors Leaving the State

Governor Charlie Baker knows that bettors from his state are still placing bets, but they are doing so across the state lines. Three neighboring states to Massachusetts put up some impressive stats in May, at least compared to the national trend.

The playoff run by the Boston Celtics attracted bettors from across New England, and Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island were the biggest winners. It’s impossible to know just how many wagers were place in these states from Massachusetts residents, but DraftKings was able to provide some data.

According to a recent report from DraftKings, more than 30% of all bets on the Boston Celtics in New Hampshire came from people with a Massachusetts address. New Hampshire and Rhode Island both saw a jump, while that hasn’t been the case around the country.