Sports betting in Massachusetts: Government offers support for the essence of Baker bill, but is ‘working through the details’

Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday afternoon that he “ideologically” supports a law legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts ahead of the deadline to act on a bill sitting at his desk for last week.

Lawmakers sent a settlement sports betting bill to the governor last week, and Baker said Tuesday that he is “still working through the details, and obviously we will be done with that bill in the next few days.” Baker has until Thursday to sign the bill, send it back to lawmakers with amendments, or veto it.

“It’s no secret that [Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito] And I filed versions of the sports betting bill in two consecutive legislative sessions, or sports betting has been legalized in most states in the Northeast,” he told reporters at the State House. “It’s definitely something we support.”

The bill agreed to by state legislators to finally create formal legislation for the 2021-2022 session, approves sports betting in the state, a 20% tax on mobile or digital bets, a 15% tax on in-person sports betting, allowing for some Collegiate betting, though not on Massachusetts colleges and universities, and gives the Massachusetts Gaming Commission greater authority to regulate the new industry.

The collegiate betting aspect was a major key point in the House–Senate negotiations at the end of the formal session. Asked whether he supports the last collegiate betting language lawmakers sent to him, Baker said he “talked about supporting some version of that … when discussing that about six months ago.” was going.”

“So that language was not unfamiliar to us,” he said. “And it’s actually been used, I think, in other states.”

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Lawmakers in both the House and Senate had expressed hope for a fall date in time for the fall of the football season, but members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission dashed hopes last week, saying it would take months to work through the licensing and regulatory process. Will take

At a Gaming Commission meeting last Thursday, Commissioner Brad Hill said that setting up a new industry is “something that is not going to happen overnight.”

“I want the public to be clear, at least in my view, I’m not speaking for the entire commission, but from my point of view, it’s going to take a little longer than people expected,” the former state representative said.

Speaking at the State House on Tuesday, House Speaker Ronald Mariano said it would be “disappointing” if implementation took too long.

“You have two hotels ready to open doors as soon as possible,” he said. “I know Encore has made a room, and I know MGM is relying on it to raise their bottom line. So I hope we can get it up and running … at least for football.” in time for.”

MGM Springfield and Encore Boston have both installed sports wagering lounges on their gaming floors. The MGM Springfield Sports Lounge was unveiled in August 2021 and features a million dollar room filled with displays and lounge chairs.

MGM Springfield President Chris Kelly previously said that the new industry would allow “Massachusetts to recoup the revenue and jobs currently being lost in neighboring states and the illegal betting market.”

“We look forward to providing local sports fans with an immersive, world-class sports viewing and betting experience in our sports lounge, as well as a VIP viewing area within the TAP Sports Bar,” he said in a statement.

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Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, previously said that the decision to legalize sports betting is “welcome news for sports fans.

“Our next step is to work with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to provide premium sports betting opportunities for our guests at the WynnBET Sports Bar in Encore Boston Harbor and on the WynnBET app,” he previously said in a statement.

The Gaming Commission meeting takes place next Thursday at 10 a.m., where Executive Director Karen Wells is scheduled to provide updates on sports betting-related preparations.

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