BOSTON, MA - JULY 24: A mask is placed on the Teammates Statue on Ispwich Street on Opening Day at Fenway Park on July 24, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MLB
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Robert Linnehan

The last time we wrote about Massachusetts sports betting it was a dire prediction for the state’s sports betting chances, as House Leaders did not include sports betting revenues in its 2022 spending plan.

But now the debate on Massachusetts sports betting seems to be reignited.

Virtual Hearing Set for Massachusetts Online Sports Betting

Sports betting chances may be revived, as the state’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies will be hosting a virtual hearing on Thursday, June 17, at 10 a.m. to hear testimony on 19 potential Massachusetts sports betting bills.

Many lawmakers from both parties have filed sports betting bills in Massachusetts, yet none have been able to successfully maneuver them to an adoption.

At a time when so many east coast states are legalizing sports betting, including the recent approval of a New York online sports betting plan, Maryland sports betting and Connecticut’s continued discussions, Massachusetts lawmakers are still jockeying for position when it comes to the legalization of sports betting.

Gov. Baker’s Sports Betting Bill Will Be Heard

Massachusetts Gov. Charles D. Baker is firmly in favor of legalized sports betting for the state. Baker’s bill, HD 70, will be discussed during the special session. His bill proposes to  legalize online and in-person sports betting to allow the commonwealth to compete with other states.

“Existing Category 1 and Category 2 gaming licensees would be permitted to offer in-person sports wagering at on-site sports wagering lounges and would also be able to provide online-based sports wagering either on their own or in partnership with online gaming operators. This legislation would also allow online sports wagering on websites and mobile applications that are not affiliated with a casino,” Baker wrote in the bill.

Baker’s bill would impose a 10% tax rate on in-person sports betting and a 12.5% rate on online sports betting. By regulating gaming in the state, Massachusetts consumers would be better protected from illegal offshore sportsbooks and the state could likely bring in a projected $35 million in revenue in the program’s first year.

Interested license applicants would pay $100,000 up front, and then an additional $500,000 if approved, for a total of $600,000 for a license. There is no mention of a license cap or details on what would go into the application process.