massachusetts online sports betting

Robert Linnehan

And yet another Massachusetts sports betting bill joins the fray.

The Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on HB 3974 this Thursday, a bill to legalize sports betting in the state, according to Matthew Murphy, a senior reporter for State House News.

HB 3974 is sponsored by the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and includes aspects of several different bills that were discussed during a special 6-hour committee hearing on sports betting last month. The hearing included sports betting testimony and details on 19 proposed bills from lawmakers, industry experts, casino representatives and front-office leaders of Massachusetts professional sports franchises.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Bill Details

According to HB 3974, sports betting licenses will be designated into three separate categories. Category 1 licenses will be available for state casinos and will allow in-person sports betting and up to three skins for online sports betting. Category 2 licenses will be available for state horse and/or gray hound race tracks and will allow for one skin each for online sports betting and in-person sports betting.

Category 3 licenses will be available for untethered online sports betting platform operators that are approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The proposed tax rates in the bill for adjusted gross sports wagering receipts are 12.5% for in-person betting and 15% for online sports betting.

Sports betting operators would pay an initial $100,000 application fee for a license. If awarded a license, the operator would then pay a $5,000,000 fee for a 5-year license. An additional $5,000,000 fee to renew for another 5 years would be required at the expiration of the original license.

Operators awarded a temporary sports betting license would pay $1,000,000 while the commission evaluated their request. If awarded a full license, the operator would then pay an additional $4,000,000.

Here is what’s also included in the bill:

  • Bets on colleges and in-stage collegiate facilities will be allowed. However, in-game and prop betting on college sports will be prohibited.
  • eSports betting will be allowed.
  • Sports wagering operators must use official league data.

Professional Sports Support Sports Betting

It’s a proposition that is well supported by Massachusetts professional sports owners. At the special meeting last month, Sam Kennedy, President and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, said the franchise would fully support legalized sports betting in the state. Legalized, regulated sports betting offers teams a safe way to engage fans, he noted.

Rich Gotham, President of the Boston Celtics, supported the state’s efforts to build a strong, legalized sports betting industry.

“WE CAN BENEFIT INDIRECTLY FROM SPORTS BETTING, THROUGH INCREASED FAN ENGAGEMENT AND SPONSORSHIPS DOLLARS WITH SPORTS BETTING COMPANIES,” GOTHAM SAID.