MA Sports Betting Promotional Deductions Nixed By Commissioners

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MA sports betting

Online MA sports betting operators will not be allowed to deduct promotions. 

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted 5-0 on Tuesday to continue to tax promotional play. 

The Massachusetts sports betting decision was reached by state regulators following a pair of presentations concerning responsible gaming and financial projections. 

MA sports betting promo verdict

Multiple Massachusetts sportsbooks sent letters to the MGC urging for promotional deductions. 

Yet in January, state regulators could only determine by a 3-2 vote that they had the authority as a body to decide on the issue. 

More than four months later, the MGC finally made a decision. 

Difficult decision for Commissioner Hill

MGC Commissioner Bradford Hill explained his personal difficulty on taxing promo play. 

“I’ve always felt if we should give a break to our businesses, that we should do that,” Hill said. 

However, Hill gave two reasons why the tax should stand, including that it benefits the Commonwealth in terms of sports betting revenue.

“But more importantly, if I for a second think that we’re taking away money away from the healthcare trust fund, that can help the people that we are the most concerned about, and that is the people that may have a problem with gambling, I really would feel that I wasn’t doing my job,” Hill said 

MA problem gamblers seek help

During the responsible gambling portion of the presentation, the following note was presented:

From Feb. 1 to March 31, 872 calls, chats and texts have been received from Massachusetts to the national problem gambling helpline 1-800-GAMBLER, an increase of 730% from the same period last year.

In other new jurisdictions, a percentage of those stats have been people calling the number who believe it is customer service. It is unclear whether that is the case with Massachusetts bettors.

Massachusetts launched in-person sportsbooks on Jan. 31, with online sports betting launching on March 10.