BOSTON – Massachusetts lawmakers voted Monday morning to pass a bill to legalize sports gambling in the state.
The legislation allows for betting on all professional teams and college teams not based in Massachusetts. Bets will be able to be placed in-person at casinos and racing tracks as well online.
What You Need To Know
- The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill legalizing sports gambling in the state
- It allows for bets on all professional teams and college teams not based in Massachusetts
- Bets can be made in-person and online, but the bill doesn't allow bets to be placed using a credit card
- Lawmakers have yet to give a timeline for when betting could start
The state House of Representatives and state Senate had previously both passed different versions of the bill, but were able to come to a compromise in the early hours of Monday.
“It’s a great piece of legislation that I think protects consumers,” said state Rep. David Muradian, R-Worcester. “It protects athletes and ultimately sets up a brand new booming industry within the Commonwealth.”
Five neighboring states already allow sports betting, and some were concerned that the state was missing out on possible revenue as residents traveled across state lines to make bets.
“Now that we’ve updated our law, I think we are going to see new jobs be created,” said state Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Hampden and Hampshire. “We are going to see a lot of that revenue stay in Massachusetts, so we are going to be able to help fund important services like schools and parks and healthcare as a result.”
To help alleviate concerns about gambling addiction, the bill doesn’t allow bets to be placed using credit cards.
"This was something that was very important to the legislature," said Lesser. "Making sure consumers are protected, making sure the integrity of sports are maintained as this new product comes online"
People will also only be able to place bets on Massachusetts college teams if they are in a national tournament, such as March Madness, in an effort to protect local college athletes.
"That was the biggest thing and I'm glad they included college betting," said Joe Murray, host of the Over/Under sports betting podcast for Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub. "Because now, the tax will be bigger and they will be able to spread it around elsewhere."
The agreement comes after about four years of discussions among lawmakers to legalize sports gambling. The bill will now go to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk to be signed into law.
Lawmakers have not yet shared a timeline for when betting could start.