Last Updated May 20, 2022, 17:53 PM
Weekly News - 06/01/2021
THIS WEEK IN LEGAL SPORTS BETTING — CONNECTICUT SPORTS BETTING ENTERS THE FINAL STRETCH
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Spring is typically a big season in US sports, so with it winding down, it’s time to check in on the legal sports betting news! This week in legal sports betting news, we have seen some states make moves toward legalized gaming. We have also seen some states face setbacks. So, keep reading to see all the news worth knowing from legal sports betting this week!
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MASSACHUSETTS SPORTS BETTING SEES A SETBACK
Massachusetts sports betting saw a setback this week by being left out of the state Senate budget. So, that leaves standalone legislation as the best path to legal sports betting in the state.
Sports betting revenue was left out of the Senate budget in Massachusetts, even though there had been many proposed amendments to add it. The Massachusetts state House also left sports betting out of its proposal.
Unfortunately, this setback is not totally out of left field. Last year, the Massachusetts state Senate also made the same decision to leave sports betting out of its budget. This is despite the fact that a global crisis necessitated finding revenue from additional sources.
However, this does not put a nail in the coffin for Massachusetts sports betting. The legislative session for the year will continue through January 4th, 2022.
The Senate Minority leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Bruce Tarr, had his sports betting amendment rejected two years in a row. His amendment proposed legalizing both retail as well as online sports betting, but did not allow for any sports betting on college sports. Online sports betting revenue would have been taxed at 12.5% and retail sports betting at a 10% rate.
State Senator Paul Feeney also saw his sports betting amendment rejected. His amendment would have mobile revenue taxed at an 18% rate as well as retail revenue taxed at a 14% rate.His amendment would allow for wagering on college sports, except for betting on Massachusetts-based schools.
The Massachusetts state legislature has seen around two dozen sports betting bills filed in the two chambers. However, it still does not look like Massachusetts sports betting will have an easy road to its legalization. There have also been tweaked sports betting proposals submitted to the legislature without much success.
Massachusetts is behind other New England states when it comes to legal sports betting. It stands alone with just Vermont as the sole sports betting holdouts, with others pledging to have it launched by the end of the year.
CALIFORNIA SPORTS BETTING HAS AN AVENUE
Next year, in 2022, California sports betting will see its day at the ballot box. This past week, a petition for sports betting to appear on the ballot was approved, as was announced by the California Secretary of State.
The measure that will appear on the ballot would allow tribes in California to operate dice games, roulette, as well as sports betting in the state on tribal lands. An amended compact would be required in the state to allow for the gaming expansion on these tribal lands.
Earlier efforts to legalize California gaming were delayed by a global crisis, but tribes had been granted an extension, luckily. A petition submitted by the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering was able to garner 1.4 million signatures back in October 2020. 1 million of those signatures were able to be verified and only 997,139 verified signatures were needed.
The coalition is made up of eighteen tribes who wish to legalize retail sports betting at horse racing tracks as well as at land-based casinos. It spent more than $11 million to collect the signatures needed, as has been reported. And, this proposal only legalizes retail sports betting in the state at this time. In fact, the tribes want to make sure there is a five year period before California online sports betting would be considered.
In this proposal, wagers on in-state college sports teams would not be allowed. Sports betting at racetracks would be taxed at a rate of 10%. These funds would then be funnelled towards mental health programs, public safety, as well as education and costs related to regulations.
The state of California has what could end up being the largest sports betting market in the entire country. This is because the state has more than 40 million residents. There is also a very large college sports market as well as a large professional sports market.
Other potentially large markets that have made moves toward legal sports betting are New York and Florida this year. However, Texas sports betting, another large potential market, will be waiting until at least 2023.
In California, legal sports betting would require a voter-approved constitutional amendment. This is what necessitated the petition. Tribal opposition to a proposed mobile sports betting initiative last year saw the bill pulled by its sponsor. However, there are parties that are very likely to oppose the tribal-led ballot measure and will spend heavily to beat it.
But, there are other California gaming efforts that have been successful in the state before. This includes the measure in 1984 to create a state lottery. And, in both 1998 as well as 2000, tribes were able to win casino operations on ballot questions. Additionally, there was a $115 million effort with four ballot measures to expand gaming in the state that were successful in 2008.
CONNECTICUT SPORTS BETTING IS ALMOST THERE
Connecticut sports betting has finished its legislative process. But, it still needs to reach another milestone before it is approved in the state.
HB 6451 was signed into law last week by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. This bills allows the state governor to submit updated gaming compacts that have been made with the Mashantucket Pequot as well as the Mohegan tribes for federal approval with the Department of the Interior.
These expanded gaming agreements include iGaming, online lottery as well as Connecticut sports betting. The bill was passed a little over a week ago in the state House and a couple of days ago in the state Senate.
However, Connecticut fantasy sports are now in danger for the rest of the year. This also includes daily fantasy sports contests in the state. Fantasy sports operators in the state are forced to cease allowing new customers in the state until they are able to reapply for a license that is tied to one of the state’s tribal partners.
Some of the basics that are outlined in the gaming agreement are:
- Sports betting revenue will see a 13.75% tax rate.
- The state will have three online skins. DraftKings will be partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. Kambi will be partnered with the Mohegan tribe. And, the Connecticut Lottery will have control over the third skin, and is in the process of picking a partner to team up with.
- The Lottery will have its online skin as well as the ability to operate 15 retail sportsbooks. Two of those retail sportsbooks will need to be located in Bridgeport and Hartford respectively. And, the state Lottery will be able to outsource to Sportech some of those operations, which is Connecticut’s OTB operator.
- The sports betting licenses will be able to run for 10 years.
The state hopes to launch sports betting in time to capitalize on the next NFL season. Interested operators for Connecticut sports betting through the state Lottery will have 15 days from last Thursday to submit their final proposals, because of the signing of the bill.
Final proposals will then be due by June 11th. The winning bidder will be announced on June 28th. Four operators were asked by the state Lottery to submit bids for the license. This was after seeing preliminary presentations by the operators.
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise.