Bill H 3977 is the new MA sports betting bill that was passed by the House of Representatives of Massachusetts by a 156-3 vote in favor of the bill. The bill is supposed to allow sports betting in person and online for anyone residing in MA who is above 21 years of age. Bettors will be able to place wagers on professional sporting events, esports, car races, video game events, and college sports. But for college sports prop, bets on individuals will not be allowed. The bill also recommends a 15% tax on online sports betting and a 12.5% tax on retail sports betting.
Legislators claim that the lower tax rate for in-person betting has been put in place, keeping in mind the additional costs of running a physical establishment. Analysts also believe that more than 80% of all sports betting activity will take place online. MA legislators are hoping to earn nearly $60 million as annual revenue from sports betting.
61% of MA residents are also said to be in favor of introducing sports betting. This is because sports betting is already legal in neighboring states and residents of MA often use illegal offshore platforms for mobile betting or travel to nearby Rhode Island or New Hampshire to place bets on sports events. Sports betting legislation in MA has been designed to help make these illegal practices legal and let the State earn a large amount of revenue from it.
There are still many doubts about the formal implementation of the sports betting bill in MA. First, the bill has to pass through the Senate, which had previously blocked a version of the sports betting bill in 2020. In 2020 the MA economic development package had to be passed without the sports betting legalization element because of objection from the Senate.
The major difference of opinion between the Senate and the House is at present over the legalization of betting on college sports. The Senate wants to remove the clause that allows betting on college athletics, but the House believes that legalized sports betting on college sports will prevent illegal practices like the Boston Points Shaving Scandal.
But the Senate has not yet provided a timeline for approving the bill. So all stakeholders are now waiting to see how and if the Senate and the House will come to a compromise over the future of sports betting in Massachusetts.