Massachusetts On Its Way to Legal Wagering

By Ben Hamill - January 23 2019

Massachusetts On Its Way to Legal Wagering

Punters eager to start placing sports bets over in Massachusetts, US might get their wish sooner rather than later. Four separate bills regarding wagering were filed over the past week alone, and MA Governor Charlie Baker is also strongly advocating the legalization of the activity.

Gov. Baker recently released a statement saying that he was busy preparing legislation that would allow the local gambling regulator, MGC, to issue betting permits to casinos licensed in Massachusetts. Some of the properties that would be eligible for such licenses include Plainridge Park, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor.

As well as being able to offer in-house punting opportunities on their gaming floors, these venues would also be legally permitted to team up with third party operators and offer online bets. However, the MGC will only be able to issue online-only licenses to companies that do not already hold local land-based gambling permits.

New Operator Tax Rates Will Apply

It is interesting to note that daily fantasy sports and sportsbook operator DraftKings is currently headquartered in Boston. Governor Baker’s plans would levy a 10% tax on land-based sports wagering revenues, while iBetting would be taxed at 12.5% instead. A new 12.5% tax would also be applied to DFS revenues to equalize the playing field, as daily fantasy sports are currently untaxed.

Sportsbook operators would pay an initial fee of $100,000 for their licenses, as w2222ell as a $500,000 renewal fee every five years. According to Baker’s offices, sports betting could bring in another $35m or more in revenues to the state’s financial budget for 2020, and even more in following years.

Baker’s plans (which would not permit bets on eSports or college sport events) have marked the fourth betting bill submitted to Massachusetts over the past week. Details on the other three bills do vary, but the governor’s power means that his bill will very likely be the first one to be pushed through.

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Legal States Bringing in Millions

Last week, the Mississippi Gaming Commission revealed that its sportsbook licensees handled more than $41.7 million in bets during December alone; a slight drop from $44.5m in November. With that said, wagering earnings came to just under $6.2m, which pushed December’s state-wide casino gambling revenues to $190.4m in total – a 7.3% year on year increase.

Pennsylvania reported similar success, with December’s bet handle coming in at $16.2m compared to $1.4m in November. Revenues quadrupled to reach $2m, despite the state having only one functional bookie. Even Delaware handled an impressive $16m in December, with its three sportsbooks claiming betting revenues of $2.15m. Total bet handle since the markets launch in June has reached $87m, of which $8.9m was profit.

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