Last Updated Jul 26, 2021, 18:32 PM

Weekly News - 07/23/2021

THIS WEEK IN SPORTS BETTING

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July 23rd, 2021 Weekly Report

This week in legal sports betting news, a Massachusetts bill has strong support, a Maine bill will get shelved until 2022, North Carolina moves forward with a potential sports wagering package, and Missouri expects to consider a bill this winter.

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CONTENTS

MASSACHUSETTS MOVES A SPORTS BETTING BILL THROUGH COMMITTEE

It’s looking more and more like Massachusetts will legalize sports betting by the end of the year, pending any major disruptions. Earlier, Governor Charlie Baker issued his own ideas in a proposal for a sports betting bill, made public in early 2021. As states scramble to rein in illegal gambling and bring in some much needed revenue, lawmakers everywhere including the Bay State want their piece of the legal betting pie.

As 2021 progressed, legislators in Massachusetts moved forward with several of their own sports betting proposals, and as the summer moves on, it’s looking like one bill in particular has some really nice momentum behind it. That bill is House Bill 3977, which sets a few things in place:

  • Nine available skins for three casinos
  • Mobile betting taxed at 15%
  • No college player props
  • In-person revenue taxed at 12.5%

A considerable obstacle for any law, sports betting related or otherwise, is passing through a state’s various committees in charge of oversight, budget, and more. Happily, H 3977 has already had it past a major hurdle, getting the OK from the state’s Ways and Means Committee earlier this week.

The Massachusetts Legislature is on break for the month of August, but there is some real movement happening here, and it will be interesting to see if a betting package can make it to a ballot for a 2022 release.

MAINE’S POTENTIAL BETTING PACKAGE STALLED UNTIL 2022

In a surprise turn of events, Senator Louis Luchini eagerly pushed a sports betting bill only to have it amended only to make it more favorable to the governor, then withdrew his support. That bill, LB 1352, was the source of quite a bit of excitement in Maine, as it would have offered a competitive and untethered (read: no need for a partner casino location) marketplace. In its former state, though, it wasn’t expected to get the governor’s signature.

Governor Janet Mills is quoted as saying that the people of Maine aren’t “ready” for a legalized sports betting market, and lawmakers knew this, so they amended Luchini’s LD 1352 in an attempt to have it pass muster with Mills. However, those changes included tethering to physical casinos, and Senator Luchini tried to tank the bill.

LD 1352 might not actually get a chance to make it to the governor’s desk after all, as the Maine Legislative session is effectively finished until 2022. Whether or not LD 1352 will continue on to the governor’s desk in its current state remains to be seen, but not much is likely to happen for the rest of the year.

NORTH CAROLINA WAGERING HAS POTENTIAL

Senator Jim Perry filed his SB 688 in spring 2021, and it details a relatively robust sports betting package that sets age limits and allows for betting on a wide variety of athletic contests. Even the governor seems to be on board, and this week gave more indication that North Carolina sports betting is a real possibility.

Many lawmakers seem quite open to the possibility of a sports betting bill passing soon, but there’s still a lot of talking to get out of the way. For example, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger indicated to reporters a few weeks ago that “(a sports betting bill) is one of those things that’s in the mix”.

These proposed bills, including SB 688, would set an 8% tax on sports betting revenue, which is low but comparable to states with similar populations. Governor Roy Cooper wants to tax this revenue instead of letting it go out to offshore operators and other illegal providers, saying: “with the internet, people are doing it, and it’s very difficult for law enforcement to stop it. So, we might as well control it and get the revenue from it”.

Long story short, a sports betting package has the necessary bipartisan support in North Carolina, and the governor seems to be behind the idea. Therefore, we can only assume that North Carolina sports betting is only a short distance away: it’s up to legislators to get the ball rolling.

SPORTSBOOKS MAY BE COMING TO MISSOURI

The senator behind the helm for the major push to allow sports betting in Missouri is Senator Denny Hoskins, who wants to legalize the practice in 2022 if possible. Missouri has a relatively limited gambling scope, but Hoskins intends to make legal all manner of events and bring some revenue to MO’s coffers. The senator has been at it since the early days of event wagering in 2018, and shows no signs of letting up.

Esports is another hot item on the agenda, as there’s considerable support to allow betting on this growing body of competitive gaming. Senator Hoskins throws his support behind this to reporters, stating “there are tournaments all over the United States as well as all over the world with this going on”. Reading between the lines, Hoskins’ inclusion of esports in his proposed wagering package is an attempt to capture what he sees as revenue from a growing market.

Hoskins stated his intentions to again file a sports betting bill in a recent interview. In said interview, he mentioned again his desire to make the bill “all-inclusive”. However, there’s a lot of pushback in his chamber: even if Hoskins does pre-file in December, he will have to convince both arms of his legislature in order to move a bill forward.

Written by Chris Altman, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

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