The state of Massachusetts is drawing closer to legalizing its sports betting industry after another key senator, Eric Lesser, has shown support for the matter.
Massachusetts Rallies Senators to Help Sports Betting Bill Push Through
Massachusetts doesn’t want to be left behind in the year-long battle for legalizing sports betting in the United States. With several bills now in the works and one pitched by Governor Charlie Baker, the Bay State is standing good chances of passing an online and in-person wagering framework through.
The matter received backing from Senator Eric Lesser during a Friday Senate Committee hearing, with Sen. Lesser endorsing a bill and arguing that it was a reasonable request. The bill itself allows for both retail and mobile betting but doesn’t allow wagering on collegiate sports.
Sen. Lesser explained that the purely recreational focus on sports betting made the calls for legalizing the industry reasonable. Having another senator back the issue is reassuring. Traditionally, it has been the House that showed endorsement for sports betting with the Senate hammering the last nail in the coffin of each bill proposed so far.
Even earlier this year, when the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies put forward a sport betting draft law, senators again refused to sign. In other words, Sen. Lesser’s change of tune is reassuring.
He went on to explain that should it not have been for the COVID-19 outbreak, he was confident the issue would have found a positive outcome during last year’s session, something that will probably happen in the 2021 legislative session instead.
Working out Sports Betting Tax and More
Sen. Lesser is also confident in the economic impact the bill would have annually. Some $35 million should be contributed to the state’s coffers at a tax rate of 20% on retail sports betting and 25% on online sports betting, Sen. Lesser explained.
The legal sports betting age will be set at 21 years. So far, there have been several bills put forward in the Bay State seeking to legalize sports betting, supported by a local authorized partner. A bill by Sen. Brendan Crighton was introduced in January. The majority of lawmakers have agreed that a sports betting legalization is imminent and it should be allowed in the state.
While opinions about taxation have varied, in their essence, all proposed draft laws have stipulated that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission should be the one overseeing the industry. Presently, the MGC is in charge of the state’s land-based casino industry and recently increased occupancy at casinos to 25%.
The argument against has run on a familiar line of reasoning. Opponents fear that enabling mobile sports betting would make it easier for vulnerable players to play and bet to excess, an argument that has proven wrong in every state that has legalized the industry so far.
Those in favor of a sports betting bill have argued that this is already happening at offshore sportsbooks and the only way to protect consumers is to regulate the industry. As rumors about legalization continue to swirl, Rep. Jerald A. Parisella, head of the House Development Committee has confirmed that sports betting would be an important part of the legislative session.