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Massachusetts Sports Betting

Editor’s note: As of Jan. 18, 2021

Residents of Massachusetts who want to bet on the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox or other professional sports teams in the state need to muster a lot of patience or gas up the car for a road trip.

With six bills on the topic of sports betting, including one sponsored by Gov. Charlie Baker, resting comfortably in the state Legislature’s Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, lawmakers have little sense of urgency to move them along.

Lawmakers it seems want to have a consensus on some of the hot topics of sports betting before actually considering the bills. Specifically, their checklist includes whether to allow betting on collegiate sports, how to protect the integrity of sports, consideration of casino-only betting or allowing mobile betting, and how to get a revenue bang from sports betting.

That last one could be the crux of concern with many states falling short in revenue projections. For example, Rhode Island anticipated more than $20 million in its first year, but only collected $2.2 million.

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A portion of that Rhode Island take was likely from Massachusetts residents crossing the state line to place bets. Residents also are heading to New York and New Hampshire.

Among the bills being considered the one from Gov. Baker seems to be garnering the most attention. Specifics of his bill include:

·         Sports betting would be offered at casinos and slots parlors

·         Online and mobile would be allowed, including mobile-only licenses for companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings, the latter’s headquarters being in Boston

·         Professional sports only would be available for betting

·         Retail wages would be taxed 10 percent; mobile at 12.5 percent

The Action Network, which analyzes sports betting across the U.S., believes lawmakers may pass a bill in 2021.

Is sports betting currently legal in the state?

No. But the Legislature is moving cautiously forward, albeit very slowly.

What about horse racing?

Like many states across North America, you are able to place online horse bets. The operators available to you in The Bay State include Bet America, TVG, Twinspires and AmWager, 

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