Massachusetts House-Senate sports betting bill negotiations start today

The two sports betting bills will be discussed during the first committee meeting.
The two sports betting bills will be discussed during the first committee meeting.

A joint conference committee will meet to work on a bill that both chambers can approve.

US.- A joint committee will meet today to try to find a sports betting bill that both Massachusetts chambers can agree on. The Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives have each passed different sports betting bills.

The joint committee will try to find an agreement that both houses can approve before the legislative session expires on July 31. Representatives Jerald Parisella, Aaron Michlewitz and David Muradian and senators Michael Rodrigues, Eric Lesser and Patrick O’Connor are due to meet virtually at today (June 9) at 2pm to start negotiations.

One of the main differences is that bill passed by the Senate has a prohibition on wagers on collegiate athletes. The Senate bill would also forbid “advertising, marketing and branding through certain identified promotional items that, as determined by the commission, tend to increase the likelihood of problem gambling, which may include giveaways, coupons or promotional gaming credits”.

It would also ban marketing during a live sporting event and would only allow online marketing if 85 per cent of the audience “is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older”.

Another major difference is the tax rate. The House bill proposed a 15 per cent tax on mobile wagering and a 12.5 per cent tax on retail wagering activities. The Senate’s proposing a 20 per cent tax on retail betting and 35 per cent on mobile betting.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker has already indicated willingness to sign a bill if the two houses manage to reach an agreement. He has long supported sports gaming legalisation. According to some estimates, legal sports betting could bring an additional $35m in revenue to Massachusetts.

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