Massachusetts House to Debate Sports Betting Bill on Thursday

Two Laptops Showing Sports in Front of a Pile of Money

The Massachusetts House is getting ready for a debate on the legislation that would legalize sports betting in the state.

According to a memo sent by the office of House Speaker Ronald Mariano to the House of Representatives, legislators were told to prepare for a debate at Thursday’s formal session on the revised version of Rep. Dan Cahill’s sports betting bill.

Cahill’s bill was redrafted by the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and favorably reported out by the committee over the weekend. It could still be edited by the House Ways and Means Committee before it hits the debating floor on Thursday.

In-Person and Mobile Sports Betting

Under the 38-page bill reported by the committee, legal sports betting in Massachusetts would be regulated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission with casinos, slot parlors, simulcasting facilities, and horse racing tracks in the state allowed to apply for licenses to accept in-person sports wagering.

Operators will be allowed between one to three mobile sports betting platforms. Those who wish to offer mobile-only sports betting are also welcome to apply for licenses and all bettors must be at least 21 years old and physically present in Massachusetts to make place a legal bet.

Entities who wish to apply for a sports betting license will be required to pay an application fee of $100,000. Approved applicants will pay an initial $5M in initial fee for the license and another $5M to renew after five years. The first time fee will be reduced to $4M for companies which paid $1M for a temporary license to start taking bets while their request is pending with the commission.

Details of Massachusetts Sports Betting Bill

Bets on professional and collegiate sports contests would be allowed. However, wagers on the individual performances of college sports athletes are not permitted. The provision to allow bets on college sports has been a recurring theme in the three years that lawmakers have been discussing sports betting.

Although fantasy sports isn’t covered by the legislation, it also permits legal bets on motor race events, e-sports, competitive video games, and any other sporting event that is approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Mobile bets will be charged 15% under the bill while in-person wagers will be taxed at 12.5%. An additional 1% tax would be levied for bets made on events in Massachusetts and this additional fee will be distributed proportionately between the facilities that hosted the said events to be utilized for “sports wagering security and integrity.”