A Bill Regulating Sports Betting in Massachusetts Takes Its First Steps

A House bill regulating the sports betting market in Massachusetts took its first steps after being introduced on July 19, and is moving forward to the committee on House Ways and Means.

Massachusetts Regulatory House Bill Moves Forward

On July 19, House Bill 3974, regulating sports betting in Massachusetts, was introduced to the state House and then referred to the House Ways and Means Committee

The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies began polling its members on Friday, July 16, on different versions of the legislation. Members had until Sunday, July 18, at 5 PM to reach their decision. The Committee reported that the redrafted HB 3974, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Cahill and Rep. Steven Howitt, was received favorably over the weekend. However, it could see further changes by the House Ways and Means Committee.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano’s office sent an updated schedule to representatives on Monday, asking them to prepare for a formal session debate on the revised version of Cahill’s bill, H 506, this Thursday.

Massachusetts Gaming Facilities Could Soon Apply for Licenses

Even though the Ways and Means redraft could change some of the details of the House bill, it could put sports betting under the Gaming Commission and allow casinos, horse racing tracks and other gaming facilities to apply for licenses to take in-person bets.

The bill proposes issuing category 1 licenses to slot operators that would permit up to three individually branded mobile apps. The apps need to receive category 3 licenses to run. Racing operators would receive category 2 licenses, allowing only one individually branded mobile app.

Licensed operators will pay a tax of 12.5% with an extra 15% for mobile and digital platforms under a “privilege tax.” The payments would be due before the 15th day of each month. Approved applicants would also pay a $5-million fee for a five-year licensing period and a renewal feel of $5 million.

If operators receive a full license after having a temporary license, the fee would be $4 million.

Massachusetts Restarted Sports Betting Talks This Year 

On Friday, July 16, the two bills, S 269 and H 506, moved forward, aiming to legalize sports betting before the summer break. Seeing the committee’s fast pace, Massachusetts could soon join its neighboring states and have sports betting and online wagering up and running.

The first to restart the talks in 2021 on the issue with sports betting in Massachusetts was Sen. Brendan Crighton. He submitted his proposal and said that state residents bet, either illegally or go to other states to place their wagers. That’s money the state is not getting.