Massachusetts Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill Into Law

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission now needs to finalize the market’s regulations
  • Online and retail betting are legal, but there are restrictions on MA college team betting
  • Lawmakers sent the bill to Governor Baker at the very end of the 2022 legislative session
  • The estimated annual tax revenue from Massachusetts sports betting is around $60m
Person signing document
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed a bill into law that legalizes sports betting in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Making progress

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed sports betting legislation into law. The governor – a long-time supporter of legalizing betting – also acted on 16 other bills on Wednesday.

already drawn up draft regulations

Following the signing of the bill, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission needs to finalize the sector’s regulations and commence the licensing process. The state gaming regulator has already drawn up draft regulations and a meeting will take place on Thursday to discuss the betting launch.

Details of the sector

As per the betting legislation, only people aged 21 and older will get to place wagers on both professional and college sports. This does not include betting on Massachusetts college teams, unless they are taking part in a tournament that contains at least another three colleges.

Both online and retail sports betting will launch in the Commonwealth State, with retail offerings able to open at casinos, simulcast centers, and slots parlors.

Massachusetts is the 15th most-populated US state and is home to a number of successful sports teams, so it is likely to boast a significant betting market.

Commenting on the signing of the sports betting bill, Governor Baker thanked the legislature for its work on the matter and said he looks forward “to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the next several months.”

A long time coming

Since the US federal ban on betting came to an end in May 2018, 30 other states have legalized sports betting. Massachusetts lawmakers have discussed legalization as far back as spring 2018. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that formal discussions really progressed in regard to legislation.

The betting bill that Governor Baker signed on Wednesday marked the final matter of business sent to him right before the end of the 2022 formal legislative sessions. It was in the early hours that lawmakers in the House and Senate eventually came to an agreement on the final terms of the bill.

could bring in about $60m worth of tax revenue

Massachusetts lawmakers estimate that legal sports betting could bring in about $60m worth of tax revenue each year. They also hope that license fees will amount to $80m, with these requiring renewal every five years.

There are, however, some concerns that the curtailment of betting on college teams will dampen potential revenue levels. Opponents argue that this restriction could lead people to black market bookmakers.