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The Status of Online Gambling is Massachusetts

October 7, 2021

While Massachusetts residents have been able to play Daily Fantasy Sports since 2016, the state legislature has been very slow about approving sports betting and online gambling options. At a time when Mass residents are more than happy to drive to nearby states to bet on sports when they want, it looks like the legislature has finally had enough of the outflow of potential sports betting tax revenue.

At this point, it looks like House Bill H3977 has a good chance of passing the House, Senate, and getting a signature from Governor Deval Patrick. Unfortunately, this bill would only legalize online sports betting. That leaves online casino enthusiasts having to wait for at least one more legislative cycle. Just the same, sports bettors might finally get a chance to do that which they have wanted to do for their entire lives. That would be having the ability to legally bet on sports from wherever they might be standing or sitting.

As is the case in a lot of states that have already been through this process, there seems to be a trend associated with passing sports betting operations with online casino gambling following soon after. It's very likely the Massachusetts legislature has just decided to take this more conservative path towards a full menu of online gambling options.

The Details Associated With H39777

If the bill were to pass in its current form, there would be a lot of requirements placed on U.S. bookmakers that are seeking online gambling licenses. Here are some of the details as they stand today.

Prospective online sports betting operators would need to pay an initial application fee of $1.0 million. If approved, they would need to pay a license fee of $5.0 for every five years in operation.

Next, the tax rates on gambling revenue have been established. Retail operators would need to pay 12.5% on all revenue while the tax rate for online operations would jump to 15%.

Each retail casino would be permitted to align with up to three sports betting skins or operators. Massachusetts racetrack can get in on the action, but they would be limited to one skin each. Also, online gambling operators are free to apply for licensing whether they have a casino/racetrack partner or not.

Finally, all online gambling operators will be required to pay $1 million each year to fund needed programs to reduce and treat problem gambling issues.

Note: Online gambling in Massachusetts will be regulated and controlled by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

When Will Online Sports Betting Go Live?

Before Massachusetts sports bettors get too excited, there is still a lot of work to be done. That would include the actual passing of bill H3977.

Clearly, the legislature would like to get this done by the end of the year. That would create the possibility residents could legally wager on the 2022 Super Bowl. The more likely scenario is things could be ready to go in time for the March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament.


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