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Sports Betting in the U.S.: Around the Horn

July 27, 2021

For the first time in their lifetimes, American sports bettors in 23 states will be able to bet on a full menu of Olympic events. A look around the nation's top bookmakers indicates that the bookmakers are fully prepared to post odds on pretty much any event whether American athletes are competing or not.

In prior Olympics, some of the top retail bookmakers in Nevada would post lines on the Olympics. However, the lines they would post were generally restricted to popular sports like Men's and Women's basketball, soccer, and a track and field event or two. With the legalized availability of online gambling in at least a dozen states, sports bettors have a free run at betting on cycling, boxing, rugby, golf, tennis, or pretty much any other sport in which they might be interested.

Will Americans bet on Olympic Events? According to a recent survey done by the American Gaming Association, as many as 20.0 million Americans stated they would likely make at least one bet on an Olympic event. That's an astonishing 8% of the population. If there were any doubts about how much Americans wanted to be able to legally bet on sports, a number like this should remove all doubts.

Massachusetts Makes Big Move Towards the Legalization of Sports Betting

The state of Massachusetts is now literally surrounded by states that have legalized sports betting for their residents. That includes Rhode Island and New Hampshire; Connecticut (coming soon by the start of NFL season) and New York. With all those tax dollars flowing to other states, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has finally passed a sports betting bill.

The bill was passed by a near-unanimous vote of 156-3. The bill would allow for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to provide access to at least 11 sports betting licenses, which would be allocated to casinos, race tracks, and mobile platforms. Each licensee would be required to pay a $5 million license fee every five years. They would also be required to pay taxes on gambling revenue at a rate of 12.5% for retail sports betting and 15% for online gambling.

Before the bill gets passed by the Senate, they might put language in the bill that forbids the use of credit cards to fund betting accounts. For now, the current bill will allow in-state betting on college sports. If the bill gets to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker, he is expected to sign it.

For Rep. Jerald Parisella, chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, passing the bill was a matter of common sense. According to him in regard to Mass residents betting on sports:

"They're either taking that short drive up to New Hampshire or to Rhode Island, where it's legal, or they're also going on their phones and using offshore applications, those sportsbooks, to bet, or they're also going to a bookie."

This is pretty much the same conclusion legislators in most states are arriving at, which is why so many states are now working to legalize sports.


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