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Massachusetts Sports Betting Deal Crosses Finish Line

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Aug 1, 2022 · 5:20 AM PDT

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  • A deal has been reached on a Massachusetts sports betting bill
  • Betting on in-state colleges will be prohibited
  • Casinos/racetracks eligible for sports betting licenses

After five legislative overtimes, Massachusetts sports betting became a reality.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano broke the news this morning at 5:10 a.m. after a six-member conference committee hammered out an agreement on Massachusetts sports betting after nearly eight weeks of meetings.

The final version of the Massachusetts sports betting bill (H5164) is now clear. Retail and online sports betting will be legal. A compromise was struck on the inclusion of collegiate sports betting as well. The bill will prohibit bets on in-state colleges, except when they’re participating in tournaments, and will allow collegiate sports betting in all other circumstances.

The bill is expected to be sent to Gov. Charlie Baker (R) for his signature soon. Baker has publicly said he will sign sports betting into law.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Details

Both the House and Senate made several compromises to make the bill work, and not just on the limited collegiate sports betting inclusion.

The bill includes the following details:

  • 15% retail sports betting tax and a 20% online sports betting tax
  • The three state casinos and two racetracks will be eligible for licenses
  • Casinos will be eligible for two online sports betting skins; racetracks will be eligible for only one
  • Casino and racetrack licenses are $5 million and good for five years
  • Seven untethered online sports betting licenses will be available
  • Credit cards will be prohibited to fund sports betting accounts
  • No marketing restrictions

A Public Health Trust Fund will also be established and be funded by 9% of collected sports betting tax revenue and a $1 million annual fee from each online sports betting operator. It will fund studies on the impact of sports betting on problem gaming, on college athletics, and individuals 25 and under.

The six member conference committee of Rep. Jerald Parisella (D-6th Essex), Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-3rd Suffolk), Rep. David Muradian (R-9th Worcester) and Sens Eric P. Lesser (D-1st Hampden and Hampshire)Patrick O’Connor (R-Plymouth and Norfolk), and Michael Rodrigues (D-1st Bristol and Plymouth) worked well past the July 31 midnight deadline to reach a deal on the bill.

So When Can Massachusetts Bet?

No official start date has been mentioned, but it’s safe to make some assumptions about when Massachusetts could see its first bet.

It’s Aug. 1 and a bill hasn’t even been signed yet by Gov. Baker, so any hopes for a miraculous NFL week 1 turnaround can be immediately thrown out.

Sports betting rules and regulations will need to be approved, a licensing application process will have to be devised, copious background checks and testing from operators will have to be accomplished before any bets in the Commonwealth can be taken.

On average it takes about eight months for a state to take its first bet after approving a bill.

However, would a turnaround during the NFL season be doable? The Super Bowl is on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. That’s nearly seven months away. It’s feasible the state could have its program up and running by then.

We’ll update the story as more details come in.

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