Good news for Massachusetts’ sports bettors. They are getting closer to legal online wagering. The major leagues are enjoying some good news for themselves as they are one step away from getting a cut of the wagers.
A bill was passed in the state’s House of Representatives in favor of “An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth”. It would also authorize legal online and land-based sports betting in The Bay State. The bill now heads for senate.
New license rules
The three categories of betting licenses are hybrid online/land-based betting for the state’s casino operators, in-person betting for state racetracks and a Category 3 license for any fantasy sports operator also licensed for legal sports betting in at least two other states.
Massachusetts is the home turf of DraftKings. By the way, Flutter Entertainment’s
FanDuel brand meets the Category 3 criteria. Interestingly, as customary, Massachusetts won’t require these operators to partner with a land-based operator to offer online betting.
Temporary licenses are in play with an application and initial license fee of $50k. In the long run, a permanent license runs $250k for five-years. It can be renewed for additional five-year periods at $100k.
Not unexpected, licensees will fork over a 15% tax on their betting revenue, along with an additional 1% of revenue local sports events. This is “for the purpose of sports wagering security and integrity.”
Major sports leagues are favored
The major sports leagues are favored by the bill. In fact, it includes a requirement for betting operators to license official league data for in-play betting. But only Tennessee and Illinois have included the mandatory use of league data in their respective betting legislation.
Massachusetts is authorizing the league
“…to enter into commercial agreements with betting licensees to share in the amount bet or revenues derived” from wagers placed on a specific league’s games.”
Furthermore, the leagues will not be required to obtain a license or any other approval from state regulators to share in their betting bounty.
This particular section of the bill marks the final nail in the coffin of the major North American leagues hypocrisy about the supposed evils of betting that impact the game’s integrity. The issue had been so strong that the leagues even pressed other states to ante up an “integrity fee.” It seems a shakedown so other states are not on the bandwagon.