Massachusetts pulls together to legalise sports betting

The state House and Senate in Massachusetts have come to an agreement to legalise sports betting.

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After days of negotiations, which at points appeared frivolous, Speaker Ron Mariano tweeted: "I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalise wagering on professional and collegiate sports in Massachusetts, bringing the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to MA."

The new legislation in the state will allow betting to take place on professional and collegiate sport; however, the law will not cover college sports inside Massachusetts, instead featuring a rule that will allow gambling on state college sports if a team is competing in a national tournament.

The new bill introduces a 20% rate of tax for online sports gambling, while the retail market will operate at 15%. Furthermore, the state didn’t prohibit the advertising of gambling, but included a ban on the use of credit cards to place wagers, as a measure to protect people from getting into serious financial trouble. 

Next, the legislation has to be signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker, which will mean Massachusetts has officially joined the 30+ other US states and Washington DC, in legalising sports gambling – most of which did so following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sport Protection Act in 2018.

The fight to legalise gambling in the state has taken years and even days ago it didn’t look likely to happen – however, the final hours proved crucial as the House and Senate came together to finally agree.

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