Gov. Charlie Baker made plenty of his constituents happy Wednesday when he signed sports betting in Massachusetts into law.
Baker is not running for re-election and previously said a MA sports betting bill would be one of the pieces of legislation “that would make me happy” to sign before leaving.
Baker and others tried for years to legalize Massachusetts sportsbooks. Passage was not guaranteed this year, either, as a conference committee worked past the July 31 deadline into the early hours of the following Monday morning before coming to an agreement.
When will sports betting in Massachusetts launch?
There is no firm date for when sports betting will go live in the Bay State, though regulators have preached patience. A sample timeline by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the seven competitive mobile sports betting licenses spanned five months.
Retail sports betting could launch first at five eligible properties through temporary licenses. Commissioners made it clear at last week’s meeting they would not compromise their process to launch faster.
The commission meets again Thursday. On the agenda is the plan for roundtables with licensees and stakeholders, one of which should be with representatives from those five entities.
Details of bill legal MA sportsbooks
The Senate and the House were far apart on some important details of their sports betting bill. In the end, it was betting on Massachusetts colleges that held up the legislation.
The Senate did not want any betting on local colleges. The two sides settled on only allowing bets on Massachusetts colleges if they are involved in postseason tournaments, like March Madness.
Up to 15 mobile sports betting operators will have revenues taxed at 20% with no promotional deductions allowed. Sports betting revenue from the five retail books will be taxed at 15%.
Those five retail operators have eight licenses to assign between them. Those will include Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM and WynnBET using one of each casino’s two skins. Rush Street Interactive also secured both retail and mobile access, the company announced on its second quarter earnings call.