MA Senate Set to Debate Updated Sports Betting Bill Passed by House

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
3 min read
Ma Senate Set To Debate
  • MA Sports Betting Bill Advances out of Committee, Now Set for Thursday Debate
  • State House Approved Sports Betting Bill Last Summer by a vote of 156-3
  • Governor Charlie Baker a Longtime Advocate of Legalizing Sports Betting in MA

MA Sports Betting Bill Advances out of Committee, Now Set for Thursday Debate

Good news for bettors on the Massachusetts legal sports gambling front, with a related bill having already worked its way through the State House now being discussed further in the Senate after having been approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee late last week.

As we have previously reported, Massachusetts lawmakers have until July 31, 2022, to debate and pass a sports betting bill, but first, it must be approved by the entire Senate body sometime after it is debated on Thursday of this week as scheduled.

Senate President Karen Spilka finally seems ready to talk sports betting, the Senate consensus she felt was missing earlier in the process apparently now in place, the state leader telling the media:

“I am pleased to see the committee has come to an agreement on a strong proposal and I look forward to discussing it with my colleagues next week.”

There is a lot to talk about since this bill that they are considering differs a bit from the one that the State House greenlit last year.

State House Approved Sports Betting Bill Last Summer by a vote of 156-3

After much back-and-forth last summer, the Massachusetts House of Representatives finally passed sports betting bill by a vote of 156-3 by using an economic development bill as its foundation, but so far the state Senate has refused to talk about that issue.

That bill has been amended since then by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and others, with certain aspects shifted and added such as not allowing residents to gamble on college sports, something that could be a deal-breaker for some House Members who already voted.

The Senate version of the bill has also raised the proposed tax rate the state would charge sportsbook operators, up now to 20% of in-person gross sports wagering receipts and 35% on mobile, compared with the 12.5% retail and 15% mobile rates suggested earlier by the House.

The two chambers will have until the end of July to work out their differences and then pass whatever legislative compromise they arrive at to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

Governor Charlie Baker a Longtime Advocate of Legalizing Sports Betting in MA

Once the Massachusetts congress creates a bill that all lawmakers can agree upon, it will make its way to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for his signature making it a law, a final step that most insiders feel is a given based on Gov. Baker’s history of support.

Whether all the recent changes to the sports betting bill made by Senators will make it to the final version could be decided on Thursday when that chamber is set to discuss and debate the issue, more talk that will further delay what most believe is inevitable.

With over 30 other states having already legalized their own version of a sports betting market for their residents, including some of MA’s closest neighbors – ConnecticutVermontNew York, and Rhode Island – it seems to be a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ a legal market will be launched.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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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.
Nationality: American
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