Sports betting in Massachusetts is officially legal after Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law on Thursday.
House and Senate members worked together on a conference committee in order to agree to terms on a sports betting bill to send to Baker for approval. His signature came a day before Thursday’s deadline to take action on the legislation sent to him before the end of the formal lawmaking season.
“Our administration first filed legislation to legalize sports wagering in the Commonwealth several years ago, and I am glad to be able to sign this bill into law today,” Baker said in a statement. “We appreciate the dedication and compromise that the Legislature demonstrated on this issue, and we look forward to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the next several months.”
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Launch Won’t Come Soon
While legislation was officially passed, don’t expect to be able to place your bets anytime soon. Brad Hill, the state’s Gaming Commissioner, has been consistently mentioning his staff plans to take its time and be thorough when it comes to orchestrating the state’s gambling rules and regulations.
“I want the public to understand, as we as commissioners are starting to understand, that this isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight,” Hill said. “I just want the public to be clear, at least from my view — I’m not speaking for the whole commission — but from my point of view, this is going to take a little longer than people probably anticipate, and I’m OK with that.”
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Sports Betting Details
The bill Baker signed sets a 15% tax rate on retail sports wagering and 20% for online revenue. Estimated revenue from sports betting is currently projected at $60 million under these rates.
One of the key points during the conference committee was whether to allow betting on college sports. The House had it in its proposal, while the Senate outlawed it.
The compromise they came to during the conference committee was to allow all betting on schools outside of Massachusetts and permit wagering on in-state schools if they are involved in a collegiate tournament. This means you wouldn’t be able to bet on a Boston College regular-season basketball game, but could place money on the team during March Madness.
Massachusetts’ sports betting bill allows for seven online skins. Players can expect popular gaming brands such as DraftKings and Barstool to receive licenses. DraftKings is headquartered in Boston, while Barstool has a large following in the northeast.
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