Massachusetts Committee to Discuss Sports Betting Legislation

Massachusetts Committee to Discuss Sports Betting Legislation
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The next attempt at making progress with legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts will come on Thursday with the state’s conference committee set to meet.  This might go in favor of the future Mass online sportsbooks, but the House and Senate will have to work through the differences.

Both the House and Senate varied greatly on their sports betting bills, so this committee was formed to develop a compromise between the two. Reps. Aaron Michlewitz, David Muradian and Jerald Parisella will meet with Sens. Eric Lesser, Patrick O’Connor and Michael Rodrigues Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to start negotiating.  

Major Differences in Bills 

One key difference between the Senate and House bills revolves around college sports betting. The Senate bill does not permit college sports betting, meaning Massachusetts residents would not be able to get on March Madness or college football – two of the most popular sports to bet on in legalized markets.  

The Senate bill would also ban sports betting ads and not allow mentions of sports betting sponsorships while on air. Funding betting accounts with credit cards are also not allowed under the Senate bill, but players could deposit with debit cards or other digital methods.  

Under the Senate bill, retail sports betting revenues would be taxed at 20%, while online revenues would have a 35% tax rate. 

The House bill would allow residents to bet on college sports and deposit money into their accounts with a credit card. There are also no advertisement restrictions under the House bill.  

There are also lower tax rates on the House bill, with online sports betting revenue taxed at 15% and retail sports wagering at 12%.  

If the conference committee can come together on these key issues, lawmakers project $35 million in tax revenue to the state from sports betting. Once the committee agrees to terms, it can send the bill to Gov. Charlie Baker to be signed into law.  

Baker has periodically tweeted his support behind sports betting legalization in his state. During the New England Patriots season-opener in September, Gov. Baker tweeted out, “Great to see the @Patriots back! We filed a bill in 2019 and again this year to legalize sports betting in MA – it's time to act and get this done. MA is losing out to many of our neighbors on this one.” 

Baker then tweeted out a similar message during the Super Bowl.  

Now, it’s up to the conference committee to give Baker and sports bettors across the state a legalized market in Massachusetts.