Massachusetts Committee Discusses Sports Betting Legislation

Massachusetts Committee Discusses Sports Betting Legislation

The Massachusetts conference committee convened on Thursday for the first time to discuss compromising on a sports betting bill to send to Gov. Charlie Baker.  

Despite the two sides differing on key issues, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues was optimistic when speaking to Rep. Jerald Parisella, the House’s lead negotiator during the public portion of Thursday’s meeting.

“We’ll work very hard to get this for the governor as soon and quickly as possible,” Rodridgues said, “and know that the entirety of my team is here to help you and your team to achieve that goal.” This is good news for Massachusetts online sportsbooks as parties continue talking about the bill.

Reps. Aaron Michlewitz, David Muradian and Parisella represent the interests of the House, while Sens. Eric Lesser, Patric O’Connor are on the Senate side.  

Key Differences  

Both parties will attempt to resolve the issue of college sports betting in the bill. The Senate bill does not allow college sports betting, while the House version would let Massachusetts residents bet on major college sports events such as March Madness and college football.  

The tax rates also differ. Under the Senate bill, online sports betting revenues would be taxed at 35%, while retail sports betting is taxed at 20%. The House has lower tax rates with online sports betting revenue taxed at 15% and retail sports betting at 12%.  

The Senate bill also does not allow users to deposit into their sportsbooks with a credit card and bans sports betting ads and any mentions of sports betting partnerships on air. Meanwhile, the House bill permits credit card deposits and doesn’t feature any of the advertisement restrictions seen in the Senate bill.  

Lawmakers will $35 million in tax revenue from sports betting if the two sides can compromise and send a bill to Baker to be signed into law. Baker reiterated his support behind sports betting while speaking with reporters last week.  

“There are a lot of people who literally just drive out of Massachusetts so that they can bet on sports, and it’s happening all over the country,” Baker said to reporters. “And without a legal way to do this, it’s a little bit like the marijuana issue. You just leave the black market there, and you don’t sort of bring it out of the shadows and make it part of the regular crime. I think we should do that.” 

It is why Kansas legislators are working hard on the sports betting launch in the Sunflower State. The market should be live in a couple of months, so Kansas residents won't have to travel to other states to enjoy sports betting. They can instead use Kansas online sportsbooks to have fun with sports betting.