It looks like the path to legal MA sports betting will again have to come through standalone legislation.
The Senate did not include sports betting revenue in its budget proposal despite multiple amendments trying to add it. The House also excluded sports betting in MA from its proposal.
Leaving betting revenue out of the budget is not a total surprise. Even in the scramble to find additional revenue to offset losses from the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate declined to add sports betting to last year’s late budget.
Sports betting in Massachusetts still has a chance this year. The state’s legislative session runs through Jan. 4, 2022.
MA sports betting amendments rejected
Just like last year, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr saw his sports betting amendment rejected on its own.
Tarr’s amendment was far from perfect, though. While it legalized both retail and online sports betting, it would have prohibited all betting on college sports.
Tarr’s proposal would have taxed online sports betting revenue at 12.5% and retail at 10%.
Sen. Paul Feeney‘s amendment was also rejected as part of a larger bundle of bills. He proposed retail and online betting, along with an 18% tax on mobile revenue and 14% on retail revenue. Feeney did not try to ban all college betting but did block betting on schools based in Massachusetts.
Plenty of bills filed
There are about two dozen sports betting bills filed in both chambers of the Massachusetts legislature.
There’s been very little action, though.
Sen. Brandon Crighton tweaked his sports betting proposal this year and said he was confident in the latest iteration back in January.
Is Massachusetts missing New England sports betting train?
Massachusetts could join Vermont as the only states in New England not to have sports betting by the end of the year.
Of its five border states, four are either live with betting or should be in time for Super Bowl betting:
- CT sports betting was just approved by the legislature and is awaiting federal approval. The plan is to be live for the NFL season.
- Sports betting in New Hampshire launched in December 2019 and recently passed the $500 million handle mark through its exclusive operator DraftKings Sportsbook.
- It is still unclear how sports betting in New York will actually work, but it is expected to be up and running by the Super Bowl at the latest.
- Sports betting in Rhode Island recently made it easier for out-of-state bettors by legalizing remote registration last summer.
The Massachusetts legislature has six months to decide if it is motivated enough to keep the tax dollars flowing over state lines at home.