Massachusetts Sports Betting Is Still Stalled Due to Differences in the Bills, but Committee Is Set To Meet

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Massachusetts sports betting still seems to have a few obstacles that need to be solved before it can be legalized. The state House does not seem like it is likely to find any wiggle room in its sports betting proposal at this time.

Ron Mariano, the House Speaker, indicated that he does not see the goal of the sports betting bill that was passed by the Massachusetts Senate at the end of April. Right now, in a conference committee, the two pieces of legislation around sports betting are being worked on to see if their differences can be worked out.

This year, the state legislature has a deadline of July 31 in order to legalize sports betting in the state. House Speaker Mariano feels that the sports betting bill from the Massachusetts Senate is too centered around the regulation of sports betting and is lacking when it comes to gambling addiction relief and support.

For him, this is illustrated by the bill’s complete ban on college sports betting, which could continue to drive sports bettors in the state to black-market sports betting operators. These black-market sports betting operators do not offer any resources for gambling addiction.

House Speaker Mariano also mentioned the state’s legal marijuana operation when discussing the bill’s issues. He mentioned how Massachusetts residents have moved to using the legal cannabis market after the legalization and regulation of cannabis in the state. He feels these same lessons need to be applied to the college sports betting market by the legislature.

This opinion surrounding college sports betting held by House Speaker Mariano is nothing new. In 2021, Mariano also indicated that a complete ban on college sports betting in Massachusetts would be on his list of dealbreakers. 

As of right now, the two sides of the state government are set to have negotiations surrounding the two bills on Thursday. 

The two sides of the government will need to find a compromise when it comes to the number of licenses that will be made available and the rate of taxation in the state. The bill from the Senate also has some restrictions on advertising that could not only be restrictive, but also unable to be enforced.

Even though Massachusetts sports betting is not yet legal, that has not stopped residents from placing their bets. In turn, there is tax revenue that the state is missing out on while the state government takes its time to legalize sports betting in the state.

Massachusetts residents have been able to place their legal sports bets in neighboring states, including New Hampshire, which has had legal sports betting since the end of 2019, Connecticut and New York, who have recently legalized sports betting. The New Hampshire sports betting market has been able to greatly benefit from the bets taken from Massachusetts residents.

In New Hampshire in 2022, betting from Massachusetts residents on the Boston Celtics playoffs has accounted for 35% of all Celtics playoff bets, according to DraftKings. DraftKings has a monopoly for sports betting in New Hampshire. In the state this year, Massachusetts residents have also accounted for 28% of the March Madness bets placed.

Massachusetts is missing out on a good amount of money that could be benefiting its residents.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

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