After a vote in the state House last week that decisively supported Bill H3977, Massachusetts is moving closer to expanding sports gambling. However, questions remain about collegiate gambling and whether the state has arrived too late to capitalise on the full revenue potential that legal sports gambling would bring to public coffers.
With Connecticut, New Hampshire,Rhode Island and New York already allowing sports wagering, Massachusetts finds itself encircled by states that allow it. As a result, some business analysts believe it has lost any early competitive edge.
If Bill H3977 is passed, it will enable in-person and online betting on major sports, collegiate sports, esports, and computer games. Operators will pay a 15percentage tax on cellular gambling, which will be cut to 12.5 percent for in-person betting to reflect the increased costs faced by casino venues.
The bill, which is unusual to Massachusetts, allows for untethered licences, allowing mobile sportsbooks to function without collaborating with an established sportsbook. The application price is $100,000, with a 5 year licencing charge of $5 million, renewable for another five years at a cost of $5 million.
Senator Eric Lesser Senate Bill, S269, which is now in the Ways and Means Committee, is also in competition for approval. Unlike H3977, it excludes gambling on college athletics and has been identified as the legislation that Governor Charlie Baker may eventually sign. Baker, a supporter of online gambling, introduced his own measure in 2019 that also prohibited betting on sports.
Although college athletics may prove to be a difficult central issue – perhaps a deal killer for some – government officials, notably Republican Chair of the Committee on Economic Development Jerald Parisella,, are eager to introduce laws.
According to a Boston.com article, he stated that some may claim that this is bringing sports wagering to Massachusetts. The truth is that citizens in Massachusetts are already wagering on sports.
He added that residents were either taking the short trip up to New Hampshire or Rhode Island, where it’s legal, or they’re going on their phones and utilising offshore programmes, those sportsbooks, to wager, or they were going to a bookie.
Republican Andy Vargas told the Patriot Ledger that he represents a district that borders New Hampshire. According to him, one can practically walk across the border into New Hampshire from Haverhill and place a bet.
According to current projections, Massachusetts may be on the hook for $60 million in taxes each year, a sum that could reduce by as much as $35 million if collegiate sports betting is outlawed. However, licence costs alone may generate between $70 and $80 million.