Sports betting included in Massachusetts economic recovery package

Massachusetts Sports Betting

Massachusetts could be ready to fast-track regulated sports betting as part of its plans to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The state revealed last week that it is looking over proposals to legalise the vertical on mobile and online platforms, as well as in land-based venues. 

House Bill 4879, which would regulate sports betting, is currently waiting for the House of Representatives to read it for a third time. 

If the Bay State chooses to bring sports betting into law, almost half of the US will have regulated this activity in some way, shape or form. 

What would be allowed if Massachusetts regulates sports betting? 

If the House of Representatives chooses to approve H4789, it will be passed on to the Senate for the next stage. 

Included as part of H4879 is the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act. This would permit sports betting via online, mobile and retail with operators who obtain a licence. 

There are three different categories for licensing. Category 1 would enable a licensee to offer sports betting across all three mediums. The second category would allow in-person sports betting at a Massachusetts-based racetrack, with Category 3 covering mobile and online sports betting only. 

Sports betting permits would be valid for five years. These would be priced at $250,000, with renewal possible at a fee of $100,000. 

Should operators wish to offer sports betting straight away, they can apply for a temporary licence costing $50,000. This would be valid for two years, with the operator having to apply for a permanent one thereafter. 

Other practicalities

A new gaming body would also be formed, titled the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

The Commission will handle the issuing of all licences. It would also set up a self-exclusion register, allowing players who wish to not participate in gambling activities to block themselves to do this. Operators will then have a responsibility to ensure that their offerings do not reach these individuals. 

Players aged 21 and above would be able to participate in sports betting in Massachusetts.