Gov. Baker Wants Urgency on Sports Betting in Massachusetts

Gov. Baker Wants Urgency on Sports Betting in Massachusetts
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Gov. Charlie Baker is ready to see a legalized online sports betting in Massachusetts .

On Sunday when watching the New England Patriots make their season debut against the Miami Dolphins, Baker tweeted, “it’s time to act and get this done. (Massachusetts) is losing out to many of our neighbors on this one,” when discussing sports betting.

Four of the five states bordering Massachusetts currently have legalized sports betting. New Hampshire and Rhode Island are both currently taking bets, while Connecticut and New York continue to work through the regulatory process before launching their online sports betting platforms.

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Currently, Massachusetts is waiting for its Senate to consider the House sports betting bill after the summer break. In July, the Massachusetts state house passed a sports betting bill with a 156-3 vote before it moved to the Senate. The bill passed combines 12 previous iterations of sports wagering legislation that was introduced earlier this year.

Highlights of Massachusetts Bill

Betting on college sports will be permitted in Massachusetts, including on the eight in-state schools. Massachusetts’ stance on college sports differs from New Jersey, where bettors aren’t able to place bets on popular schools such as Rutgers and Seton Hall. But player props would be banned in Massachusetts gambling.

The bill also has three skins going to each casino and one per racetrack. Massachusetts could also be the first state in the U.S. to have tethered and untethered licenses available.

The application fee is $100,000 with a license fee of $5 million for five years and an additional $5 million renewal fee for five years. For operators who receive a $1 million temporary license, the initial fee is $4 million.

Tax rates on revenue will be 12.5% for in-person wagering and 15% for online betting.

Under the bill, eSports would also be included as a betting offering.

Connecticut Preparing to Launch

Connecticut could launch retail sports betting soon after the Federal Registrar published the gaming compacts of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes. Just days before, the tribes received approval on revisions to the gaming compacts they submitted.

Connecticut has three operators in the state. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe has a deal with DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Mohegan Tribe is teamed up with FanDuel Sportsbook. Rush Street Interactive is the other operator after it agreed to terms with the Connecticut Lottery.

Speaking to local media on Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont reiterated he believes retail sports betting could go live in the coming days.

“My instinct is the tribes, hopefully, will do something collaboratively at the same time on site, and we're just waiting for the final approval so we can get everything going online as well,” Lamont said.

Connecticut’s online sports betting launch isn’t expected for another month. Operators are still undergoing the regulatory approval and testing process of their products.