The Massachusetts State Senate is in a position to legalize sports betting across the state. However, likely, the process will not be as straightforward as initially anticipated.
The Vote Could Take Place on Thursday
There could be several issues that arise in the bill that emerged from the Senate committee on Friday afternoon. There are some key differences in some aspects in comparison to the bill that already cleared the House. Even though the Senate lacked interest in the sports betting operation since last summer, the Senate’s proposition doesn’t make the case any better.
The vote on this matter could take place on Thursday. The Senate Ways and Means Committee advanced the wagering bill favorably late Friday afternoon, according to sources within the Senate. One of the main differences between the initiatives is the Senate bill doesn’t allow wagering on college sports.
Last July, House Speaker Ron Mariano stated, it “probably would be” a dealbreaker if that was the case. If the bill makes its way through the Senate this week, state lawmakers will have approximately three months to debate on what the best approach would be regarding this situation.
Breaking Down More Differences in Both Bills
Oregon is the only jurisdiction in the sports betting industry that completely prohibits bettors from placing wagers on colligate sports. An outright ban on betting on college sports in the Bay State would undouble the revenue potential.
Estimates from the House showed that the sports betting bill that passed through its chambers in July 2021 would bring in $60 million in revenue.
On the other hand, Mariano stated that completely banning betting on college sports would bring down the potential revenue to 25 million and $35 million.
In the House’s proposition, the tax rate was much lower at 12.5 percent for retail and 15 percent for mobile. On the other side, the Senate’s proposition portrayed a 20 percent tax rate for retail and 35 percent for mobile.
The House’s bill would allow more mobile sportsbook operators to receive approved licenses. The number was at 11 for the House and nine for the Senate. The House operates three licenses through the state’s three casino operators, resulting in market-access fees, which should lead to casino support for the House bill.
Bettors throughout the state still have to wait to bet in the Bay State, but many residents have been crossing state lines to go to states that offer sports betting, which include Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
The regular session is ready to end on July 31, while an informal session runs through Jan. 2, 2023.
Senate President Karen Spilka was pleased about the agreement when the Senate believed that sports betting wasn’t a top priority. Spilka stated on Friday;
“I am pleased to see the committee has come to agreement on a strong proposal and I look forward to discussing it with my colleagues next week.”
Gov. Charlie Baker is a known advocate for legalized sports betting.