Even in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, lawmakers in Massachusetts are making another attempt at legalizing sports betting in the state. They are pretty optimistic about this latest push and think that they can have this new bill approved before the year’s end. In 2019, there was a major push for legalized sports betting but lawmakers decided to take a step back and consider things carefully.
The sports betting bill stalled and legislators kept it on hold for a number of months. Even though the COVID-19 crisis has unsettled governments across the world, Massachusetts legislators are still going ahead with their sports betting push.
Senator Brendan Crighton who backs the idea of legal sports bets in Massachusetts said the state cannot afford to sit back and do nothing about legalized sports betting any longer as the underground sports betting market is thriving in the state. This new bill will now only offer residents better consumer protection but will also create a lucrative revenue stream for the state budget.
WCVB Channel 5 Boston
Fortunately, the Massachusetts General Court will meet throughout this year. The court’s formal session will be ending at the end of July but the court will still meet afterward to discuss and vote on various issues. The state’s lawmakers have been consistently filing bills since 2019 to legalize sports betting. This has been endorsed by Governor Charlie Baker but state lawmakers wanted to be careful about the wording.
State legislators are willing to move forward with the new bill but they want the current COVID-19 crisis to be handled first. Many see the slow approval as a good thing since it has allowed them to see all the positives and negatives of legal sports betting. The end result is a bill that many legislators hope is good for the state of Massachusetts.
What Is In The Bill?
The current sports betting bill HB 4559 is waiting for approval. It is a combination of 11 separate House and Senate bills being merged into one whole package so that it covers every aspect of sports betting in the state. Considering it is the result of constant negotiation among various interested parties, it already has the support of multiple betting operators who want to enter the state.
It has several important details. For one, it offers several license types. They all have a $500,000 application fee combined with a $500,000 initial license fee for all interested parties. The differences in the licenses are what sort of gambling offerings they can operate in the state. They also last for five years.
The current tax rate is a reasonable 10 percent of gross revenue for betting at sportsbooks while mobile casino operators have a 12 percent rate. The bill also has details on how to protect the integrity of the games and how to offer protection to consumers!