Massachusetts Sports Betting Dies in the Senate

Sports betting in Massachusetts was put on hold last week after the Senate scrapped sports betting from the new economic development bill. After getting huge favor in the House, the Senate felt the bill was better amended without the sports betting language in it.

Massachusetts was expecting to get sports betting this year, and that is still possible; however, it will need to come a different way than how lawmakers initially tried to legalize it.

Senators did not believe it was right to slap a sports betting bill on the back of the economic development bill. They are in favor of passing sports betting, just not in this manner.

The House of Representatives felt that adding sports betting would bring in additional and much-needed revenue.

The proposal included a $250k application fee covering the first five years of operation with a $100k renewal fee for the second five years.

The state had proposed a 15 percent tax on adjusted gross sports wagering receipts with an additional one percent for events taking place in Massachusetts.

What’s Next for Massachusetts Sports Betting?

Lawmakers will need to find another way to get sports betting bill through Congress. There is bipartisanship for sports betting; however, the Senate did not feel like it was right to legalize sports betting by putting it on at the end of an economic development bill.

Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, is a proponent for sports betting and would like to see it passed sooner than later. Baker could use sports betting revenue in the state budget. Although the state has discussed legalizing sports betting since 2018, they have yet to find a way to legalize it.

Overall, the House will need to go back to work on a bill. There were some details that the Senate pointed out that might have saved sports betting in Massachusetts from becoming a disaster.

Some of the language used in the bill would only allow five sports betting licenses to operators and giving three of them to casinos. FanDuel and DraftKings would also be permitted to open sportsbooks.

Revenue sharing was also in the bill and could have been the first state to do something of its kind in the sports betting industry. There is a chance that could be in the final bill if lawmakers look to hash details over the coming months.

The Importance of Passing the Bill

The biggest issue with Massachusetts not passing the sports betting portion of the bill is it will cost the state more revenue. People from Massachusetts can go to Rhode Island or New Hampshire to place bets on their favorite teams.

Legalizing sports betting will keep revenue within the state to help the local economy. Now, lawmakers will need to figure out a way to get a bill back through Congress so they can legalize sports betting in Massachusetts.

The coronavirus has also decimated state budgets across the country. The state will ace deficits and need different revenue streams to pull from to help soften the blow. Sports betting has been a go-to for most states as it will create an instant revenue stream for a state to use.

Massachusetts lawmakers will turn to this as a way to push another sports betting bill through.

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