There has finally been some positive action taken on a sports betting bill in Massachusetts, and it could ultimately lead to the state launching the industry. On Thursday night, the House of Representatives in Massachusetts voted to approve H.3977.
There have been close to 20 different pieces of legislation introduced in the Massachusetts House to legalize sports betting. Instead of helping to get this industry launched, it just caused too much deliberation and arguments.
The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies was in charge of creating a final bill for the House by using language from the previously submitted bills. That piece of legislation went for its third reading on Thursday, and it passed by a vote of 156-3.
Now this bill will head to the Senate, and there could be another problem ahead. The Senate will discuss H.3977 over the next few weeks, but there is also a bill in that chamber of the legislature as well.
Deal Done in Hurry
The legislature in Massachusetts meets in odd-number years, and they will be in session all the way through December 31 of this year. This gives lawmakers plenty of time to get a bill passed, but the House wasted little time in pushing this bill forward.
On Wednesday, this bill was in the House and Ways Committee, and it was sent to the House early Thursday morning. The House of Representatives has been hopeful of getting a sports betting bill passed, and there was little debate this time around.
Massachusetts won’t be able to get sports betting launched in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season, but March Madness in 2022 could be in play.
Many Licenses Available
According to H.3977, there will be three different types of sports betting licenses available in the state. Each casino in the state of Massachusetts will have three online skins with each sports betting license that they receive.
Racetracks will also be able to apply for a license that comes with just one skin, and online sportsbooks can also apply for a license. The state will impose a strict mandate that requires official league data for all in-play wagering.
The cost of a sports betting license in Massachusetts is steep, but it won’t keep operators away. The cost is $5 million for a five-year license, and it is the same cost to renew every five years.
Competition Surrounds Massachusetts
Massachusetts missed out on a great opportunity to make a big mark in the New England sports betting market, but there is plenty of competition at this time. This area has seen tremendous growth with this industry since the beginning of 2020, and the growth isn’t going to slow down.
New Hampshire and Rhode Island are currently the leaders in that part of the US, but both states offer small markets. Connecticut and New York have both approved online sports betting, and those states will challenge Massachusetts.
The city of Boston is home to some of the most storied and iconic franchises in sports, and that will help drive sports betting.