Sports betting in Massachusetts is now legalized after the state’s Sports Betting Conference Committee agreed on legislation early Monday morning.
“I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalize wagering on professional and college sports in Massachusetts, bringing the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to MA,” Speaker Ron Mariano said in a tweet.
A key difference between the House and Senate bills that were passed revolved around college sports betting.
The Senate bill didn’t allow for any type of college wagering, while the House version did.
Under the new legislation made by the Sports Betting Conference Committee, college wagering will be allowed on out-of-state schools only, unless a Massachusetts university is taking part in a national tournament such as March Madness.
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Under the new legislation, in-person sports betting revenue is taxed at 15% and online sports betting revenue has a 20% tax rate. The 20% tax rate was originally proposed in the Senate bill, while the 15% online rate comes from the House version.
The bill now heads to Gov. Charlie Baker, who is expected to sign it. Baker has been publicly vocal about Massachusetts developing its own legalized sports betting market.
Well-known names such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Barstool are expected to launch in the state once the Massachusetts market goes live. DraftKings is based in Boston, while Barstool has a large following in Massachusetts and the northeast.
“We are thrilled that our home state has acted to protect consumers, create jobs and grow revenue in the Commonwealth,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins said in a statement. “We particularly want to thank Speaker Mariano, Senate President (Karen) Spilka, Chairs (Aaron) Michlewitz and (Michael) Rodrigues and the members of the conference for their leadership. We are hopeful that the legislature will move to quickly pass this bill and Governor Baker will sign it into law.”
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Massachusetts Sports Betting by Comparison
Compared to the other northeastern states with sports betting, Massachusetts falls in the middle regarding tax rates on revenue and college sports limitations. New York has the country’s highest sports betting revenue tax rate, with 51% of revenue directed back to the state. New Jersey’s online sports betting tax rate is 13.5%, while Pennsylvania is at 36%.
Each of the three northeastern states are regularly tops in handle. For June, New York took in $1.1 billion in bets and was followed by New Jersey at $633.2 million. Nevada was fourth at $490 million, and Pennsylvania came in at fourth ($394.5 million).
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New York and New Jersey also do not allow betting on in-state teams, but the one difference is Massachusetts residents can bet on in-state schools when they are in major tournaments such as the NCAA basketball postseason.
It’s a unique concession for those against college betting, similar to what’s used in Connecticut where in-state bettors can only wager on a Connecticut team that’s playing in a tournament.
With Connecticut and Massachusetts bordering each other, it may become common that Massachusetts residents will drive to Connecticut to place bets on their in-state teams, while Connecticut bettors could do the same driving to Massachusetts.
Pennsylvania has a wide-open college sports betting market, allowing wagers on all events, including in-state schools.
Based on projections, Massachusetts is expected to generate between $35-50 million in sports betting revenue.
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