Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has officially filed a bill that would legalize sports betting in his state. Baker describes the legislation as an opportunity for the state to remain competitive with other states pursuing the same type of regulations while investing in local aid. New York and Connecticut are states which passed sports wagering laws, but do not yet have regulations to govern the industry. Legalizing sports betting in the Bay State would make Massachusetts the second in the New England region to hop on board after Rhode Island approved in-person sports wagering in 2018.
The sports betting law would allow the state’s three casino operators, MGM Springfield Casino, the unopened Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett, the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville to offer services with license’s provided by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. This potentially means an MGM Springield Sportsbook and Plainridge Park Sportsbook could arrive in 2019.
Under this proposal, casinos or land-based sportsbooks would be taxed at 10 percent while online wagers would be taxed at 12.5 percent. Baker’s bill calls for revenue raised from Massachusetts sports betting taxes to be put toward local cities and towns in need of aid.
Massachusetts looks to enter the fast-growing business of sports betting less than one year after the Supreme Court declared PAPSA unconstitutional, leaving the future of sports betting up to the states.
Baker’s administration estimates that in Fiscal Year 2020, the bill could generate up to $35 million in tax revenue. The state’s gaming commission has previously said the state could make up to $45 million annually between brick-and-mortar casinos and online wagering options included in Baker’s bill.
The proposal limits wagering to professional sports and would exclude popular options such as NCAA college football and basketball. Bettors would also have to be at least 21 years of age.
If the proposed Massachusetts sports betting law is passed, daily fantasy entities would be permitted to offer online wagering as well. Companies like FanDuel Sportsbook and Boston-based Draftings Sportsbook would be allowed to offer mobile sports betting without the requirement of a relationship with a racetrack or casino.
DraftKings’ director of global public affairs James Chisholm said the company looks forward to working with Baker and other lawmakers to get the proposed bill approved in the coming months. Chisholm is of the belief that regulated sports betting is the best mechanism to eliminate illegal offshore wagering and protect consumers while ensuring game integrity and creating revenue for the state.