Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act

Wagering on horse and dog races has been legal in Massachusetts since the 1930’s. Traditionally this has been limited, requiring customers to attend physical on-course racetrack venues to access parimutuel or simulcast offerings from off track bookmakers (OTB) venue.

In recent weeks an emergency legislative bill has been drafted H487. The bill first reported from the committee on House Ways and Means on July 24 2020 seeks to enable partnerships for growth and stimulate jobs in the state as a response to pandemic induced economic and employment crisis. Within this bill is a proposal to authorise and regulate sports betting with the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act.

Industry groups have been vocal advocates for the inclusion of sections to legalise sports betting, including major operators DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM and even the local Red Sox.

If approved, the latest version of the bill will enable wagering operators to apply for an initial five year license for $250,000, with a renewal fee of $100,000, a taxation rate of 15% on adjusted revenue and mandates use of official league data for in play wagering on US sports. This is accompanied by a 1% fee for bets placed on sports in Massachusetts state facilities.

Licenses will be issued in three categories. Category one permits an operator to offer mobile, digital and in person wagering. Category two permits sports wagering at race track venues. Category three allows digital only operators to enter the market.

While there are many players vying for position and would be candidates for acquiring licenses, those most likely include the Boston founded Barstool (which Penn National Gaming closed a deal to buy a 36% stake in the company for $163M in January 2020), BetMGM (MGM resorts casino), DraftKings, and FanDuel sportsbooks.

Published by Wagering America

Founded in 2020 Wagering America aims to share accessible and valuable expert insights and knowledge about the wagering industry.

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