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Looks like MA Sen. President Karen Spilka had every reason to be hopeful about her state’s chances of launching a legal sports betting market as we reported, her insider’s optimism paying off with this statement earlier this week from MA House Speaker Ron Mariano:
I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports in Massachusetts, bringing the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to MA.
No telling how many palms were greased, and political arms were twisted in the state legislative chambers this last week as lawmakers from both the House and Senate worked together to reach a compromise on how the legal sports betting market will look in Massachusetts.
Now the sports betting bill that the two chambers agreed upon will travel to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for his signature, a given by one of the issue’s stronger proponents who has told the press that he would sign any deal that both the House and Senate can agree on.
The main point of contention during this process was whether to allow betting on college sports.
There has been an ongoing battle over whether to allow MA punters to make bets on in-state college games, though most other states where sports betting has been made legal allow both to take place, the combination of the two helping to add to the total handle.
Reportedly, MA legislators came to what was deemed by managing editor at Play Massachusetts Jason Schaumburg as the “Obvious Compromise,” which is to allow residents to place bets on both pro and collegiate sports as long as the school is not from that state.
That might be a big deal to some bettors considering there are 114 colleges and universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but the first step was to get a bill that everyone could agree on, and chances are that market will shift and evolve as time goes on.
The sportsbooks that will operate in Massachusetts will work out all those details, as will the state’s three casinos: Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MGM Springfield in Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, near the Rhode Island border.
Now the Codfish State will be joining over 30 other U.S. states and D.C. in taking advantage of this potentially lucrative opportunity made possible once the Supreme Court officially overturned PASPA in May 2018, giving each state the chance to create their own market.
Since then, the U.S. sports betting market has taken off and has generated a total handle of over $125 billion, and each state that contributed to that number now gets to tax the sportsbook revenues that are generated from that successful and profitable market.
What MA lawmakers no doubt came to realize is that whether they moved forward with their own sports betting market or not, state gamblers were going to be spending that money regardless, they would just have to travel elsewhere to do it.
Now comes the even tougher part – setting up that Massachusetts sports betting market by creating the online and retail platforms where it will live, and by regulating the license and tax revenue operations that will dictate which sportsbooks will get to participate there.
It’s still an unfolding story, so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.
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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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