Massachusetts sports betting legalization is on the right track, with House Bill 4559 created to advance the industry in the state. While there was plenty of optimism that it will lead to a regulated market for Massachusetts sports bettors, legislative delays during Covid-19 pushed the discussion off until later in 2020.
Editor Note: The Senate has killed Massachusetts sports betting legalization efforts in November, 2020, but the state continues to look forward to 2021.
Meantime, many Massachusetts sports bettors report having accounts in neighboring New Jersey or Rhode Island where they can wager online when inside the boundaries of those states (for work or visiting). (NFP reviews SugarHouse Sportsbook NJ on the site or check it out directly).
Gov. Charlie Baker said last year that he wanted a sports betting bill on his desk by June 2020, and following five previous bills, H 4559 is the likely candidate to move the state forward. The deadline for legislature to pass the bill – and prepare it for the ogvernor’s sign-off – was July 31, but that deadline was extended until the end of 2020, per Zack Jones of Forbes.com.
With the request to extend the legislative deadline beyond July 31st approved, the House and Senate now have until the end of the calendar year to properly craft a stand-alone bill to fully address the proper way forward to legalized sports gambling. Until then, Massachusetts residents must travel to neighboring New Jersey and Rhode Island to legally wager.
If the bill passes, the state’s House Ways and Means Committee estimated that sports betting could bring the state an additionally $20M in annual revenue. Other projection put the number at $30M or more.
Is sports betting legal in Massachusetts?
No. House bill 4559 was assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee on March 12, with a recommendation that it should be passed. There was great support for the proposal but also dissent and caution as debate happened in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Legislators eventually decided to remove sports betting from the bill and revisit it later in the extended session.
Where can I bet at Massachusetts sportsbooks?
As it currently stands, H 4559 will permit the state’s two current casinos, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, along with a third future casino to offer sports betting. The bill also authorizes the Plainridge Park slot parlor to take wagers, as well as horse racing tracks.
Online sports betting will also be allowed for the above venues, along with a maximum of five online-only operators.
What about mobile sports betting apps in Massachusetts?
DraftKings Sportsbook is headquartered in Boston, so expect them to have a strong presence once Massachusetts sports betting gets the green light. House bill H 4559 also allows for each casino to have up to three online partners, while Plainridge Park can have two, so expect FanDuel, Yahoo and the other major sports betting apps to be involved in some capacity.