Representative Haggerty, Mass Legislature Legalize Sports Betting

Massachusetts to join over 20 states where sports betting is legal 

Photo by William Zhang

BOSTON – Earlier this week, State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act regulating sports wagering, authorizing and regulating 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.  

“I was pleased to support a bill that allows sports betting in the Commonwealth,” said Representative Haggerty. “Our residents have been traveling to bordering states for years to place their sport wagers. This bill offers residents the opportunity to place sporting bets in our state rather than going to one of the other thirty states where it is legal, includes proper safeguards, helps get sports betting out of the shadows, and any revenue collected would benefit Massachusetts residents.”  

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 & 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 youth 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 after school and out of school activities. 

The legislation will also allow betting on college sports, except for 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.  

Having been passed by the House and Senate, An Act regulating sports wagering now goes to Governor Baker for his signature.  

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