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Massachusetts Legislature passes sports betting law

Rep Jessica Giannino
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Sports betting is now legal in many states

  On August 1, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted An Act regulating sports wagering to authorize and regulate sports betting in the Commonwealth. The legislation authorizes the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant in-person licenses at gaming establishments, including casinos, racetracks and simulcast facilities, as well as mobile licenses through mobile applications or digital platforms. This legislation will generate an estimated $60 million in annual tax revenue for Massachusetts, in addition to collecting up to $70 to $80 million in initial licensing fees, which must be renewed every five years. The revenue collected will be distributed to municipalities and for economic, workforce, education and public health priorities. On August 10, Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act regulating sports wagering into law.

  “I’m incredibly proud that after years of House-led efforts to authorize legal sports wagering in Massachusetts, the Legislature has acted to bring the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “Legalizing wagers on both professional and collegiate sports will create jobs and bring tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to Massachusetts. I want to thank Chairs Michlewitz and Parisella, all the conferees and my colleagues in the House, as well as our partners in the Senate for recognizing the incredible economic opportunity that legalized sports betting presents.”

  “I’d like to thank the many Senators who have worked so hard on behalf of the Senate on the issue of sports betting legalization to bring this new industry to Massachusetts,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I’d especially like to thank the Senate conferees, Senators Rodrigues, O’Connor and Lesser, who has been in the forefront of discussions on sports betting for many years. I’m proud of the protections for consumers and our college athletes included in this bill, and I’d like to thank Speaker Mariano and the House conferees for their partnership.”

  “Legalizing sports betting is a big win for Massachusetts and the 16th Suffolk District – this policy will generate new jobs and end the outsourcing of the practice to illegal markets and neighboring states,” said Representative Jessica A. Giannino (D- Revere). “Revere has a deep history in sports betting from Wonderland to Suffolk Downs. This transformative legislation brings Massachusetts to the 21st Century in this industry. As a member on the Economic Development Committee, I appreciate the steadfast commitment that my colleagues on the conference committee displayed as they worked through long hours to reach a compromise.”

  “The debate over expanding gaming in Massachusetts ended years ago. We have the most successful lottery in the USA. We have Keno. We have slot machines. We have casinos. We have simulcasting. And now after many years of hard work, and very tough negotiations, we will soon have sports betting. This bill is a lifeline to the workers at the former Suffolk Downs. I am proud to have supported this legislation. I look forward to seeing this industry flourish in a responsible way in the Commonwealth,” said Representative Jeffrey Rosario Turco (D-Winthrop).

  “An Act regulating sports wagering” includes a 15 percent tax on in-person wagering and a 20 percent tax on mobile wagering. The legislation creates the Workforce Investment Trust Fund and the Youth Development and Achievement Fund, which will receive 17.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively, of the revenue generated by the taxes and licensing fees. The rest of the funds will go to the existing Gaming Local Aid Fund (27.5 percent), the Public Health Trust Fund (9 percent) and the General Fund (45 percent).

  • The funds in the Workforce Investment Trust Fund will be used to develop and strengthen workforce opportunities for low-income communities and vulnerable youths and young adults, including to promote stable employment and wage growth.
  • The funds in the Youth Development and Achievement Fund will provide financial assistance to students enrolled in and pursuing a program of higher education, and for afterschool and out of school activities.

  The legislation will also allow betting on college sports, with the exception of Massachusetts schools, unless they are participating in a tournament. People must be 21 years old or older to bet. As directed through this legislation, the Gaming Commission will be conducting a study into the feasibility of allowing retail locations to operate sports wagering kiosks.

Turco headshot_Cropped-2
Jeffrey Turco
State Representative

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