Massachusetts Senate passes sports betting bill

Massachusetts' bill includes a controversial 1% integrity fee.
Massachusetts' bill includes a controversial 1% integrity fee.

The Massachusetts Senate has passed its version of the state’s sports betting bill. The next step is reconciliation with the House version.

US.- The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill that would allow legal sports betting in the state. The Senate’s version differs from the sports betting bill passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives last July, so now a joint conference committee will now meet to create a bill that both chambers can approve.

One of the main differences in the bill that advanced at the Senate is a prohibition on wagers on collegiate athletes. The 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 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.

The bill provides for six licences for companies that could operate both online and at a retail facility. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would regulate sports betting and license operators in the state. The bill also addresses gambling addiction and recovery.

According to some estimates, legal sports betting could bring an additional $35m in revenue to Massachusetts. If the House and Senate can reconcile their differences, Governor Charlie Baker has signalled that he would sign a sports betting bill into law.

See also: Missouri Senate committee debates tax rate for sports betting bill

In this article:
Massachusetts sports betting