Time Running Out in Massachusetts

Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

Top sportsbooks are itching to operate in the state of Massachusetts. The public and political support is there for sports betting to be legalized.

Obviously, sports bettors are excited for the opportunity to place bets legally. But politicians are also excited.
Some of them have gone public projecting tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue from legal sports betting alone.

However, the situation in the state is growing increasingly frustrating. While the support for sports betting being legalized is clearly there, politicians cannot agree on what legal sports betting should look like.

This persisting disagreement shows that there is a long way to go from supporting the legalization of sports betting to actually making this legalization a reality.


In Massachusetts, there are two sports betting bills in play. The House bill, H 3977, mandates a tax rate that is 20-percent lower than the Senate bill, S 2844.

In addition, whether bettors should be able to use their credit cards to add money into their sports betting accounts is up for debate — the House bill would allow them to while the Senate’s would not.

Moreover, the House bill permits bettors to place wagers on college sports while the Senate bill does not.

Given the immense popularity of college football and college basketball, the question of whether bettors may place wagers on college sports is a crucial question in view of potential revenue for the state.

Since this revenue is making the legalization of sports betting look so attractive to politicians, removing a strong source of this revenue from the equation would help undercut the impetus to legalize sports betting.

The deadline for both sides to reach a consensus is coming really soon, July 31.