Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker made big news in the national sports betting industry this week. On Friday, Baker had to submit his annual state budget proposal to the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
He unveiled HD 678 just prior to the meeting that would legalize sports betting in the state.
The details of HD 678
Massachusetts has a strong gambling economy, although sports betting does not currently exist in the state. The two largest licensed casinos in the state are MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.
In addition to these properties, Massachusetts is home to four major professional sports teams from the New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins, and the Boston Celtics.
Charlie Baker announced that HD 678 would allow licensed casinos and online sports betting providers to offer mobile betting across the state. Baker banned college and esports betting in the first draft of the bill.
This could change at the beginning of the legislative process, but HD 678 only legalizes professional sports betting.
Modeled after New Jersey
New Jersey has become one of the largest sports betting markets in the United States. The state's December betting settlement was nearly $ 1 billion.
Many legal betting states will not reach $ 100 million for an annual deal, which shows the enormous size of the New Jersey market.
With HD 678, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is fully responsible for the sports betting industry in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would have the power to amend applications and enforce government regulations.
Online providers would not have to be affiliated with a casino to operate in the state. This allows many platforms to operate in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts casinos would have the ability to apply for a retail sports betting license while offering online sports betting. Personal stakes would only be taxed at 10%.
Online betting would have a slight increase in the tax percentage under HD 678. Online earnings would be taxed at 12.5%.
The registration fee is $ 100,000 and the license fee, if approved, is $ 500,000. The license agreement would have to be re-approved every five years.
The effects of HD 678
Baker's proposal for HD 678 caused a sensation in the legal sports betting industry. The House approved sports betting in 2020, but the bill died in the Senate. HD 678 is more likely to pass due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If HD 678 were passed, it could generate government tax revenues of $ 35 million. This is the third year Baker has included income from sports betting in its annual budget proposal. However, in the past two years, he's had no luck getting the bill off.
Twenty states across the country have legalized sports betting. Border states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island have legalized mobile sports betting. Connecticut is on the verge of legalizing the form of gambling in 2021.
This could force the hand of the Massachusetts legislature on HD 678. The state will continue to lose potential revenue to these border states if they fail to pass sports betting law.