Massachusetts Begins Sports Betting Process

The Massachusetts House has established a framework for sports betting in the state. The amendment spells out wagering limits, specifies tax rates, and names the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as regulator.

An amendment to Massachusetts House bill H 366 spells out new taxes, application and licensing fees for sports betting in the state. Based on a copy obtained by Sports Handle, the amendment also bars sports betting on colleges that are not Division I, as well as Olympic sports, esports and daily fantasy sports.

According to the 17-page amendment, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will regulate sports betting, determine which wagers will be legal and establish a maximum-bet cap. The amendment sets the tax rate at 10 percent for gross revenues on retail sports betting, and 12 percent for mobile.

The new amendment also creates four tiers of licensing. For three of those tiers, the application fee would be $500,000 with a $500,000 licensing fee, good for five years, and a $500,000 renewal fee every five years. The licenses were detailed as follows:

  • S1: Las Vegas-style casinos and includes retail sports betting plus three online skins
  • S2: Slot-only casinos and includes retail sports betting plus two online skins
  • SH: Racetracks would allow for retail sports betting only. The application fee would be $50,000, with a $100,000 licensing fee and a $25,000 annual renewal fee
  • SM: Mobile-only license, which would allow companies like DraftKings, which is based in Boston, or FanDuel, to have stand-alone mobile sports betting. The bill caps the number of mobile-only licenses at five

In addition to the mobile-only licenses, there would be at least six additional skins available between MGM’s Springfield Casino and Boston Encore.

The bill originated in the Economic Development and Emerging Technology Committee, which held multiple informational hearings on sports betting last year. State lawmakers filed about a dozen sports betting bills in 2019, approving none of them, preferring to move at a slower speed.