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Latest Massachusetts sports betting attempt passes first stage


A bill to regulate sports wagering in Massachusetts has been referred to the committee on House Ways and Means after it was introduced to the state House yesterday (July 19).

House bill 3974 was reported by the House Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, and is sponsored by Rep. Daniel Cahill and Rep. Steven Howitt.

According to the bill text, category 1 licenses, which will be issued to slot operators, will allow the operation of up to three individually branded mobile applications as allowed by the Commission. The mobile apps must receive a category 3 license in order to run.

However, category 2 licenses, which will be distributed to racing operators, will only allow for one individually branded mobile application.

Licensees will be taxed at 12.5%, with an extra 15% tax on mobile and digital platforms, categorized as “privilege tax”. The tax will be due on or before the 15th calendar day each month.

Successful applicants must pay a $5.0m license fee for a five-year licensing period, with a renewal fee of $5.0m. However, if an operator receives a full license after receiving a temporary license, the fee will be $4.0m.

This bill is the latest attempt to bring sports betting to Massachusetts. In July 2020, the committee on House Ways and Means introduced HB4879, an economic development bill that included a proposal to legalize sports betting online, in-person and on mobile.

Although the Massachusetts House of Representitives previously passed an older version of the bill, the Senate voted to remove the section mentioning sports betting from the bill.

Ultimately, the House of Representatives rejected the newer version of the bill.