Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker plans to legalize MA sports betting! To go along with land-based sports betting, Bill SD 903 would allow online platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel to provide MA online sports betting independent of forming a relationship with casinos and racetracks.
US sports betting may be on the verge of adding another state to the mix. Gov. Charlie Baker plans to extend legislation (An Act To Establish Sports Wagering in the Commonwealth) that would allow the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to license the MGM Springfield Casino, the unopened Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett, the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville and a future casino licensee in southeastern Massachusetts for sports betting. This potentially means an MGM Springield Sportsbook and Plainridge Park Sportsbook could arrive in 2019. The proposal would also allow other non-casino land-based establishments, such as DraftKings and Fanduel, to offer MA online sports betting. The application fee for an initial license is currently set at $100,000 under this proposal. Applicants will have to renew their licenses every five years for a fee of no less than $500,000.
Baker administration estimates $35 million in tax revenue would be generated for the Fiscal Year of 2020. The tax for casinos that offer sports betting would be at 10 percent, while online sports betting would be taxed at 12.5 percent. Currently, daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts such as DraftKings and FanDuel are not subject to taxes, however, under Gov. Baker's proposal, DFS sites would be subject to the 12.5 percent tax rate.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would oversee sports betting and the tax revenue would go toward local aid for cities and towns. Licensees would have to pay $1 million to help fund compulsive gambling programs.
The proposed legislation does not include royalties, such as the “integrity fee” that sports leagues have been pushing in each state. The legislation would prohibit sports betting on college and high school sports, Esports and amateur sports. Athletes, coaches, referees and other sports-affiliated employees will be prohibited from placing bets as well.
MA Senators Brendan Crichton, Bruce Tarr and James Welch each filed bills related to sports betting on Jan. 16, 2019.
Crichton’s legislation includes integrity requirements, but has much in common with Gov. Baker’s proposal. The bill proposes a tax rate of 12.5 percent of gross revenues from sports betting. Welch’s bill aims to put a 6.75 percent tax on gross sports betting revenues. Tarr’s proposal seeks the establishment of an 11-member “Special Commission on Sports Gaming,” and recommends creating sports betting legislation within 180 days of the formation of the commission.