Sportsbooks such as PointsBet, Bet MGM, and Caesars are always looking for new business and are thrilled about a late bombshell from a sports-crazy state. Legal sports betting is coming to Massachusetts!
House and Senate negotiators agreed on a compromise bill early Monday morning, several hours after a midnight deadline. The bill was set to clear both chambers later Monday and land on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk.
Baker has long supported sports betting for his state and has said he will sign any bill that clears the legislature.
"I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports in Massachusetts, bringing the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to MA," House Speaker Ron Marino tweeted in formally announcing the deal.
"I want to thank @RepMichlewitz and @JerryParisella, all the conferees and my colleagues in the House, as well as our partners in the Senate, for recognizing the incredible economic opportunity that legalized sports betting presents."
Closed-door talks had been underway for two months to get a compromise bill passed before what was supposed to be a July 31 deadline. The House OK’d a sports betting bill in July of 2021 by a 156-3 vote. The Senate did not act until April 28, when it passed its sports betting bill by voice vote.
The House and Senate blew past their midnight Sunday deadline as multiple bills remained unresolved. Both sides had dropped hints late this past week that they were negotiating in good faith and considering proposals from the other body.
"It’s done! College is allowed, except for Massachusetts teams. But if a Massachusetts team makes a tournament, betting is allowed," Sen. Eric Lesser told Bookies.com via Twitter DM. He was the main proponent of sports betting in the Senate and is running for Lt. Governor.
The bill will allow betting on pro sports for those over 21, including retail and gambling app provisions. Lesser said the bill calls for a 20% tax rate on mobile betting and 15% on in-person and fantasy wagers.
The original Senate bill would have prohibited betting on all collegiate events. The Senate bill also banned credit card use for betting and had a higher tax rate than the House version.
What is officially known as the 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began its current session on Jan. 6, 2021, some 572 days ago. It’s been more than a full calendar year since the House passed its sports betting bill.
Much of the infrastructure for legal sports betting is already in place in Massachusetts. The state gaming commission had laid down some basic rules and regulations for sports betting in preparation for a potential change in the law. The Massachusetts State Lottery celebrates its 50th birthday in 2022.