The Massachusetts House and Senate finally agreed on the details regarding the legalization of sports betting for professional and college sports. The specifics of the new bill are not yet public, but sports betting in the Bay State could become a reality in a matter of weeks.
The Agreement Happened at the Last Possible Moment
The most significant point of contention standing in the way of the bill was whether or not to allow betting on college sports. Now that the final hurdle has passed, the state’s two legislative chambers will send the newly drafted document to Gov. Charlie Baker, who has been a staunch proponent of the introduction of sports gambling.
There was a real danger that the bill would not make it. When the official legislative session ended on 31 July, the Senate and the House had not yet reached an agreement. The session then got extended into 1 August, and the two parties finally managed to find a compromise.
Just after 5 a.m., House Speaker Ron Mariano released a tweet, revealing that the committee had agreed on the details of the new bill.
“I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports in Massachusetts…”
Ron Mariano, Massachusetts House Speaker
Mariano added that introducing legal sports betting would greatly benefit the state, bringing immense economic benefits.
Operators Are Ready to Open Shop
With its new legislation, Massachusetts is joining more than 30 other US states where sports betting is legalized and regulated. According to Mariano, the state’s casinos were already prepared and were eagerly awaiting the formalization of the new regulations. He was hopeful that the laws would be ready before the football season.
Jason Robins, CEO of gambling operator DraftKings, issued a statement, noting that the company was very excited regarding the announcement.
“We are thrilled that our home state has acted to protect consumers, create jobs and grow revenue in the Commonwealth.”
Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings
Robins thanked the conference committee for their hard work and leadership and expressed hope that Governor Baker would quickly sign the bill into law.
The House and Senate Managed a Compromise
Michael Rodrigues, Senate Ways, and Means Chairman outlined some new regulations. The tax rate will be 20% for online sports betting and 15% for land-based venues. Players will not be able to bet on Massachusetts college teams not actively involved in a tournament. Credit card deposits are also not allowed for the sake of player protection. Casinos and racetracks can apply for sports betting licenses, and operators will be free to advertise their services.
According to Rodrigues, the new bill resulted from several compromises between the House and Senate. The two chambers were under a lot of pressure to reach an agreement. Three Massachusetts casino executives and Associated Industries of Massachusetts sent letters urging the House and Senate to reach an agreement. While it may have happened at the last possible time, the crisis is now averted, and players in the Bay State can look forward to supporting their favorite teams.