It has only been a few years since the Supreme Court gave states the go-ahead to control sports betting legislation as they deem fit. However, the sports betting market has grown by leaps and bounds- and things have only just started.
Before the May 2018 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for sportsbooks across the country to start operating, full-service casinos and sportsbooks were only permitted in Nevada. This Supreme Court decision opened up the country to legalize sports betting.
As things are, more than 20 states have already legalized some form of sports betting with more considering the idea. Numerous bills are awaiting signatures from governors in many states across the country including Massachusetts. Lawmakers in Massachusetts have proven that they definitely have an appetite for bringing sports betting in the state.
However, lawmakers haven’t managed to agree in the complicated and super regulated gambling industry. State lawmakers in Massachusetts have been weighing the advantages of an increase in state revenue as well as the increased ability to offer punters protections against unfair betting practices in the state.
Sorting out complicated business and political interest and increased opposition from some anti-legalization factions have also emerged as thorny challenges in Massachusetts’s road towards legalizing sports betting. The absence of sports betting in the state has left a gaping hole in the industry and something clearly needs to be done sooner rather than later.
What’s the state of sports betting in Massachusetts?
In February 2018, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission released an all-inclusive 31-page white paper that was created to provide shareholders, operators, and punters a “roadmap for those seeking to learn about the current landscape of the sports betting discussion in the country and its possibilities in Massachusetts’. The report was created just after the Senate bill 2273 was floated by state lawmakers.
A different bill to legalize sports betting in the state was introduced again later that year in November 2018. In January several sports betting legalization bills were also introduced. Although many citizens had anticipated a legalized sports betting industry before the end of the year 2019, sports betting is still yet to be regulated and legalized in the state.
Just earlier this year, the Massachusetts House passed an economic development bill that comprised legalized sports betting. However, the Senate’s advanced version of the bill did not include sports betting language, which effectively killed Massachusetts’s dream of joining other states with legalized sports betting in 2020.
Had the Senate passed the bill, it would have landed on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk, who has always been a strong supporter of legalized sports betting in the state. Although things look bleak for the sports betting market in the state right now, all hope is not lost. Even though Massachusetts will not legalize sports betting this year, it will have to seriously consider it soon.
Thanks to the coronavirus, the state budget is in dire need of assistance that can be provided by sports betting. The state needs legalized sports betting to thrive not just survive. Case in point, the Boston Red Sox, in need of a revenue boost, have even teamed up with well-known sportsbooks FanDuel, DraftKings, and MGM in a bid to pass sports betting in the state.
Why should Massachusetts legalize sports betting in the state?
When sports betting is legalized in the state, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will have the authority to license the state’s 3 casino operators to offer punters in state lines both online as well as brick and mortar gambling opportunities. According to the Governor’s proposal, operators would be charged a 10 10 percent tax on sports wagering inside casinos, while online bets would be taxed at 12.5 percent.
Officials estimate that once sports betting is legalized, the taxes will raise an estimated $35 million with most of the proceeds being used to fund local aid for the state’s cities and towns. The legalization of sports betting in the state will also help to official tax the already untaxed daily fantast sports contests that occur in the state.
So what are some of the other reasons why sports betting should be legalized in Massachusetts?
Having a thriving sports betting industry in Massachusetts will help to create thousands upon thousands of new jobs for locals. When new casinos open their doors, numerous positions will be available. Experts predict that as many as 200,000 jobs could be created after sports betting is legalized in the state.
Eliminate black-market betting
It is no secret that people have been wagering in the state for years in the shadows. Such bets that are placed in the black market are often not taxable as all transactions are generally kept off the books. Along with helping to make the betting market much safer, legalized sports betting will generate massive revenue that is needed by the state, especially after the devastation that has been brought about by the COVID-19 virus.
Regulated sports betting markets will also help to restore integrity to an otherwise tainted industry. A legalized market will institute mandatory monitoring and reporting of illegal betting line movements, which will work to make the space much safer for bettors.
Outside Massachusetts, sports betting and other forms of gambling have become popular since the momentous Supreme Court decision. Since other states across the country are already enjoying legalized sports betting, there is no reason for Massachusetts to miss out when the advantages seemingly far outweigh the disadvantages.
Massachusetts lawmakers may have so far taken a cautious approach to legalized sports betting. However, all hope is not lost. This is because legal, regulated sports betting will supply the state with the best mechanisms not only to safeguard punters in the state but it will also go a long way in helping to eliminate illegal offshore gambling.
Legalized sports betting in the state will also help to generate some much-needed revenue while fueling the advancement of Massachusetts’s sports tech industry. Sports lovers and bettors alike can only sit and wait for the legislators to get their act together.