In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker just planted his signature on top of a tough and seemingly insurmountable legislative mountain, signing into law the sports betting bill that many thought would never reach that summit, with bipartisan compromise the journey’s major sherpa.
Gov. Baker, who has said openly that he does not intend to run for re-election, had promised his constituents that he would sign that sports betting bill into law before his term ended, a promise he kept earlier this week as the state leader spread the praise around, saying:
We appreciate the dedication and compromise that the Legislature demonstrated on this issue, and we look forward to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the next several months.
There were plenty of doubters along the way who figured MA lawmakers would never be able to compromise on certain critical issues like the tax rate and whether betting on college sports would be allowed, but Bay State Lawmakers finally approved the bill so Baker could sign it.
Now those compromises will allow a multi-million dollar income stream to begin to flow.
No doubt Codfish State lawmakers did the math and realized if they didn’t figure something out before their legislative session ended they would be passing up the chance to create a new industry that would bring an estimated $60 million in yearly tax revenue for the state.
Add that to the $80 million or so the state will bring in from licensing fees plus whatever it will cost to renew them every five years, it’s no wonder they figured out a way to please everyone, first by making college betting legal except on in-state schools, something that both sides liked.
Determining a fair tax rate to levy on sportsbooks operating there has also been a challenge for the over 30 other states where this activity has been made legal, but eventually, MA lawmakers decided on a 15 percent tax rate for in-person wagering and a 20 percent on mobile betting.
Now comes the regulatory part of the journey, and that typically takes longer than anyone likes.
The group in charge of regulating and launching this new legal sport betting market in the Old Colony State is called the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and they will set up the rules and regulations that sportsbooks and bettors will follow, a lengthy process with a lot of steps.
The good news is that the commission has already gotten a decent head start, as chair Cathy Judd-Stein has told the media in a recent statement she released:
“For the past several years, we have been monitoring sports wagering legislation and taking appropriate steps to prepare for our potential role. As soon as this week we will be working to understand the landscape of interest in operator licensure as we move forward with this process.”
No doubt everyone involved will want to get MA’s legal sports betting market up and running as soon as possible, the hope most likely being that it can all start in time for all or part of the upcoming (and bet-lucrative) NFL season which starts September 8.
Keep checking back for all 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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