House Rejects MA Sports Betting Changes, Conference On Deck

Written By Matthew Waters on May 18, 2022
MA sports betting

The Massachusetts House did not accept the changes made by the Senate to its MA sports betting bill, as expected.

There was little discussion on the House floor during Tuesday‘s 16minute informal session. The House quickly voted not to concur to the changes to H 3993, setting the stage for a conference committee.

Both sides have a lot to discuss. The two proposals to legalize Massachusetts sportsbooks are quite different, including key areas like tax rate and licenses.

MA sports betting conference committee details

The House appointed Reps. Aaron Michlewitz, David Muradian and Jerald Parisella to the conference committee. Parisella is the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, which is where the sports betting discussion started last year.

There has been no announcement on who will represent the Senate yet.

Do not expect to hear much about where the negotiations are headed until a decision is finalized. House Speaker Ron Mariano‘s office told LSR it will not speak on issues being negotiated.

Senate President Karen Spilka‘s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Senate proposal includes odd advertising stipulations

The Senate pushed its sports betting bill through with few changes despite nearly 70 amendments introduced.

One area targeted by the amendments was the Senate’s advertising restrictions, which look difficult to implement. The restrictions include no sports betting ads during televised games.

TV, radio and internet ads would be prohibited unless 85% of the targeted audience is reasonably expected to be 21 or older. That is similar to the law in place for Massachusetts’ marijuana ads.

Sen. Eric Lesser, the other co-chair of the joint committee, supports the restrictions.

Will MA sports betting include college betting?

As it stands, the Senate proposal does not allow any betting on college sports. Amendments trying to change that in various ways were either rejected or pulled from consideration.

Sen. Patrick O’Connor pushed for college betting in the bill, whether that included wagering on in-state teams or not. He eventually pulled his amendments but told LSR he hopes the conference committee will include some form of college betting:

“I think Conference Committee gives a good opportunity for both sides to take what they passed and meld them together to make the most high quality product that we can. I am hopefully we will walk away with a bill that takes a lot of the best practices that have been put in place in other states.

“Where we land on college, I am not entirely sure, but I am hopeful that we will land on a product that includes it.”

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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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