Massachusetts Sports Betting Bills Arrive In Trio Before Friday Deadline

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Massachusetts sports betting

Three Massachusetts sports betting bills from three different sponsors arrived in the state legislature Wednesday.

The sports betting bills landed in advance of Friday’s deadline to introduce legislation for the 2019 session in Massachusetts. Their purposes range from creating a study commission to introducing both retail and mobile sports betting.

Digging into three MA sports betting bills

Here’s a closer look at what each bill would bring to Massachusetts.

SB 908

Introduced by Sen. Bruce Tarr, this bill is the most cautious of the three. Tarr’s legislation would create an 11-person study commission to look into legal sports betting in the Commonwealth.

The commission would have 180 days to study the subject before being required to report back to the legislature. Depending on how quickly the bill moves, it’s possible the commission could report back before the end of the 2019 session.

SB 882

Sen. James Welch proposes legislation that would enable Massachusetts casinos to begin sports betting operations. It appears to encompass both in-person and mobile sports wagering.

The bill includes a 6.75 percent tax on sports betting revenue for both Category 1 and Category 2 licensees. Category 1 licensees are the state’s largest casinos.

Currently there is MGM Springfield (Category 1) and Plainridge Park (Category 2). Another Category 1 casino, Wynn Encore Boston Harbor, opens this year.

SB 903

The bill from Sen. Brendan Crighton also legalizes both retail and mobile operations in Massachusetts.

This bill would establish an initial license fee of $500,000 per operator. Sports betting revenue would be taxed at 12.5 percent of gross revenue, and licensees would pay a $100,000 annual renewal fee.

DraftKings calls Boston home

Massachusetts is home to DraftKings Sportsbook, the early market leader in New Jersey sports betting. The daily fantasy sports company turned legal sports betting provider paced NJ operators in mobile revenue in 2018.

A DraftKings spokesperson offered this statement on behalf of the company:

Legal, regulated mobile sports betting provides the best mechanism to not only protect consumers, but to eliminate illegal offshore gambling, ensure game integrity, generate new revenue for the Commonwealth and fuel the growth of Massachusetts’ sports-tech sector.

We’re hopeful Massachusetts will seize the opportunity this year to establish a new national model of directly licensing mobile operators.