MA Sports Betting Bill Gets Committee OK Ahead Of House Debate

Posted on July 22, 2021
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Written By on July 22, 2021

The MA sports betting story is moving faster this week than it has since the beginning of the legislative session in January.

The House sports betting bill, now H 3977, received approval Wednesday in the Ways and Means Committee.

That was expected after House Speaker Ron Mariano told representatives they should be “prepared to consider” the redrafted H 506 from Rep. Dan Cahill on Thursday.

The Senate has not yet taken action on its bill, S 269 from Sen. Eric Lesser. The discussion to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts is rapidly evolving, though, especially with a summer break for the legislature looming next month.

The new bill does not address any of the disagreements between Cahill and Lesser’s proposals. That means a conference committee is still likely needed to get Massachusetts sports betting legalized this year, should both chambers pass their bills.

Another new MA sports betting bill?

H 3977 is the second new MA sports betting bill in three days following H 3974’s recent introduction.

There are not a whole lot of changes to consider, though. The substitute text essentially cleans the language from H 3974 and leaves much of the meat of the proposal alone:

  • Sports betting revenue will be taxed at 12.5% for retail and 15% for online.
  • Collegiate betting is allowed, but not on player props.
  • The state’s three casinos will each get three sports betting skins. Horse racing tracks and simulcast sites can launch one online Massachusetts sportsbook each.
  • The new bill also keeps the language concerning a study on potentially allowing betting kiosks throughout the state. That study is due at the end of next year

Betting coming to businesses near stadiums?

There were many points of view given on what sports betting in Massachusetts should look like at a June hearing of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. Some of those speakers included various representatives from Massachusetts’ professional sports teams and organizations.

There was not much talk about teams getting involved, but rather how legal betting is positive for fan engagement. That engagement might get even closer to their stadiums and arenas than they thought.

According to the Boston Herald, multiple lawmakers are considering amendments that would offer a new retailer license. Those licenses would allow in-person betting adjacent to sports facilities up to a half-mile away.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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