It was around two years ago now that Governor Charlie Baker said that he would begin work on getting sports betting legalized in the state. While there has been back and forth, and everyone says they are on board, there has been little in the way of actual legislative progress regarding sports betting. However, starting June 17th, the State House is meeting over sports wagering and beginning thorough hearings regarding the matter.
One of the bills to be talked about will be the one proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker himself. However, there are more ideas up for discussion with the joint committee that will be summoned to the State House. The hope for many is that there is some sort of agreement on how to proceed in regards to sports betting following this hearing.
The big bill on the table seems to be Charlie Baker’s, HD 678. The main details of this bill include a $100,000 licensing application fee and a $500,000 fee for the licenses. It seems that Massachusetts would be going for a market that is more open, similar to New Jersey.
There seemingly have been three ways in which states have approached the sports betting licensing process. The first is a strict bidding process like New Hampshire and New York, where one or a few sportsbooks will run the entire market at an extremely high price. There then is the tethering model, which is popular in states where tribal casinos run the gaming landscape. This is where sports betting skins are awarded to retail casinos to be handed out. Then, there is the free-for-all unrestricted licensing like Tennessee and Maryland, where any sportsbook can apply for a license to operate in the state.
There has been a mix of results for each one of these forms of sports betting regulation. Success really comes down to how well the regulatory body in charge of sports betting implements the licensing.
Massachusetts is shaping up to be one of the biggest markets in the United States. While the population is only 6.8 million, there are some major things going for it. First, it seems like most legislation being considered is rather lax and sports bettor friendly. Second, Massachusetts and Boston are sports epicenters. The fact that the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins are so massively popular will aid the market in a big way.
Another note about Massachusetts is the fact that DraftKings’ headquarters is located in Boston. This is the leader in sports betting when it comes to the online betting market in the United States. There is no doubt that DraftKings will do everything it can to makes the most out of the Massachusetts market.
Sports Betting Timeline
There is no timeline for sports betting in Massachusetts; some excerpts believe that the 2021 NFL Season is still a target date. However, it seems like the legislative process is going too slow for that to happen. It could be anywhere between October of 2021 and October of 2022 that we see sports betting launched in Massachusetts, and that is only if legislation ends up progressing in the right direction.