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It’s bad enough the Massachusetts Senate and House are struggling to agree on how legal sports betting market in that state would look, but now the American Gaming Association (AGA) is weighing in on the issue and has issued what comes across as a warning to state lawmakers.
As we reported earlier, the Massachusetts House just voted against granting Senate changes to a sports betting bill being debated there, and since then the AGA has directly addressed three of the apparent dealbreakers being discussed, namely college sports, ads, and tax rates.
The AGA is a national trade group that represents the casino industry, so one of their main concerns is that betting on college sports be allowed in whatever Massachusetts sports betting market is launched since 20% of all sportsbook wagers are made on college events, saying:
There has always been, and always will be, significant public demand for betting on collegiate sports. States have appropriately recognized that the real public policy question is not if collegiate sports wagering will occur, but whether it should take place through legal or illegal channels.
It’s a valid consideration, especially given that college sports betting is already permitted in the over thirty other states that have legalized such a market, and also given how many universities with sports teams are located in the New England area where eager gamblers are bound to live.
Another concern the AGA has brought up to Massachusetts lawmakers is the level of regulation that sports betting advertising may or may not receive, with that organization wanting as little as possible so that its casinos and related sportsbooks can easily market their gambling wares.
There are multiple ways to use these ads to reach new and existing customers including online, on television, and in person at the actual casinos, and the AGA is quick to point out that those policies should be fair across New England, saying:
Competing states are already advertising in Massachusetts with no restrictions, which will only increase the confusion.
One more issue is how much the state should charge sportsbooks for operating there, with a 35% online tax rate and a 20% for in-person being considered high numbers according to the AGA, who warned:
Sports betting is a low margin business and will not be viable long term if a burdensome taxation framework is adopted.
Time is running out, regardless.
Codfish State lawmakers have until their current session ends on July 31 to make up their minds on sports betting and to create legislation that will please both chambers of the state congress, easier said than done when the two sides are so far apart on these issues.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts remains one of the few New England States still without a legal sports betting market, a situation that forces resident gamblers to either travel outside the state to place bets or use unregulated offshore sportsbooks, either way sending that money away.
The AGA’s warning is essentially a heads up to Massachusetts lawmakers to learn from the other successful sports betting markets already out there, but whether it’s heeded by lawmakers remains to be seen, so check back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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